Sarah Connor’s Clothing and Gear in Terminator 2019, So Far

I now have a fixed page on the website with both Terminator 2 and Terminator 2019 gear and costuming 

I’m not a cosplayer, but I love seeing Sarah Connor cosplay. Okay, sometimes I and friends joke that I do daily Sarah Connor cosplay. I prefer to think I just cosplay the dean of the Sarah Connor Charm School. Which would obviously be influenced by Sarah. But I’ preoccupied by costuming details as much, if not more, than the most authenticity obsessed cosplayer. At least when it comes to Sarah Connor. Of course, this is more so since I took up prepping, so I’m also picky about what is and isn’t practical in wardrobe and props.

There is a lot about what she wears in Terminator 2 that I absolutely love and do wear regularly. Black (although hers was apparently gray but some people think was green) tank tops being number one. Especially when I am feeling buffed, want to show off my tattoos (so very un-Sarah Connor, who wouldn’t take the time or want to be so marked….although Linda has at least one that we know of), as it keeps getting hotter where I live and as my old concert and events cut-up black T-shirts have worn out from years of wear and washings and I just don’t go to things to get them so much anymore (and I have a few special ones I stopped wearing regularly so they wouldn’t wear out so fast). But I also have various jersey material shirts with various lengths of sleeves, so I already have V-neck Ts now unlike the one she is wearing in the new photos.  Of course, many, again of all sleeve lengths or none, are our own SCCS shirts.  Black (I have long worn mostly black) BDUs I figured I should have some and learned to love extra pockets, I still wear them sometimes but evolved to prefer tactical pants with even more pockets.  The covered watchband, I bought one as a lark when I saw it while buying some BDUs because it was cheap. But in black, of course.  I have gone through many since because it’s cheaper than replacing the actual watches…and I discovered my watches now last for years instead of dying after a few months and, no, not the batteries, the watches themselves would fry. Now I don’t even remember when I last bought a watch. Combat boots, but I already was wearing combat boots and they are nothing like the low boots (requiring stirrups added on her BDUs) with brass eyelets Sarah wears which I never did see while shopping, tbh. I also like patrol caps on occasion. But I also have baseball type cap and a boonie hat.  These are are fairly practical. I obviously am not walking around with an ALICE vest or even pistol belt (I carry concealed, after all).  But to this I add a lot of Celtic-styled jewelry, multiple ear and eyebrow piercings. I do like long whispy bangs, but otherwise I have a side shave and scalp tattoo. To be honest, I’m probably aesthetically more Acacia in Lost Girl, than Sarah, it’s really the whole “what would a 2,000 year-old warrior wear today?” Right down to a leather jacket, mine in basic black but decked out with chainmail, family tartan and a bunch of pins and buttons.

So, there, done my confession that I do dress a lot like Sarah Connor, but don’t do full on cosplay. But do think about accuracy and practicality. Because I’m obsessive like that.

This means that since the first photos of Linda Hamilton from the set of the new movie came out, I’ve obsessed off and on about what she is wearing and carrying. And I’ve found a lot, but not all. So this is not definitive…I mean, that would be impossible until the movie is out, anyway. And anyone spots mistakes or can fill in where I’ve not found stuff, please let me know.

Below I discuss the clothing and accessories I have identified, the  I haven’t and then the weapons. And a few thoughts on whether I think these seem right for Sarah as we have known her (YMMV), whether I would wear them and some idea for cosplayers.

Clothing and Accessories I have identified  absolutely  or best possibility (or so basic you have lots of options):

The first is those pants: They turned out to be rather easy to find and I think I did so on first day and this is the one thing I am one I am surest about (aside from the shotgun and the belt buckle, although not the belt) right down to the exact product. The good news is that if you want them either for cosplay or just because you love them, you can get  these exact pants (barring any customizing done by wardrobe). These are motorcycle jeans by uglyBros USA , the women’s Olive Motorpool-G. The bad news is that they run about $330. While there are other moto jeans out there that have the stretch panel over the knee and are similar, I am quite positive on this for an exact match especially with the cargo pocket. Just not sure about the split hem over over her boots, as all other photos I’ve found of them have them tucked in.

Do I think Sarah wear them? Honestly, these are great looking pants, but I totally question Sarah wearing them over a pair of tactical pants with, say, 14 pockets. Hoping she at least rides in on a motorcycle. But if this ends up as a Future War movie rather than a stop the war movie, then maybe. I have learned from watching The 100 that moto skinny jeans are the most important post-apocalyptic wardrobe item a woman can have.

Would I wear them? No. I don’t have that sort of money for pants, I like a more relaxed fit and also just not enough pockets.

My suggestions for cosplayers? You can sometimes find “deals” for the uglyBros online, but some of those sites seem pretty suspicious. Sizes are pretty narrow (take the pun there or not), as well, and you’ll want to read their instructions on measuring as they’re, uh, different. The men’s version run slightly bigger but not a lot (men’s also come in a K for Kevlar version, cargo pocket is different, though). You might find some close but not exact searching for “moto skinny jeans” and variations of that, but finding them in olive drab green with cargo pockets might be difficult. A lot depends, of course, on how accurate you are wanting to go, how much money you want to spend and what your modification skills might be on what you choose. But at least you can be pretty sure on what you’re aiming for.

Black Women’s V-neck T-shirt: Wait, is it black?  I really think it is this time. No clue on brand, but this is where “so basic you can surely find something” comes in.

Would Sarah? Sure, why not? Although I admit I do kind of wish she was in a tank again.

Would I? I do already at times. When possible, and it is getting harder all the time, I like sweatshop free options which is why I linked this brand.

Cosplayers? I don’t think this is a problem.

AustriAlpin Cobra belt buckle in polished (sometimes labeled “silver,” “aluminum” or “chrome” by other sellers) finish on olive drab green web belt: This is a sure thing as far as the description goes, I am familiar with this coveted buckle brand. The only ready made belt I have found with this combination polished on OD green is Crosstac women’s Lightening Tactical. but I don’t know if that’s what they got or if they made one. Obviously, the wardrobe department could sew the buckle onto webbing themselves. The Lightening Tactical belt is pricey, but well made tactical and rigger belts with these Cobra buckles tend to be and it does have useful hidden pockets, with or without a knife to put in the knife one.

Would Sarah? Hell, yeah!

Would I wear? Hell, yeah! These are great buckles and I wear tactical belts already and really would love one. Black on black, or wolf gray on black, of course. But I’m looking at that no time soon due to costs, yeah even on Esty which has the best prices on belts, some of them appear really well made. Seriously, these are awesome buckles and is the one thing, other than basic black Ts, that I consider a practical thing that I’m happy to copy from this movie so far.

Cosplayers? If you are putting it on $350 jeans you are probably okay getting an $85-$100 belt. If you were to buy the Lightening Tactical, check their sizing information carefully, they’re strict and no refunds if you mess up. Again, Esty might be an option and you might be able to find one with this combo or get one custom made by someone there. It’s cheaper if you get a single density belt, rather than an actual tactical or rigger double thick and that is probably find for cosplay especially if you’re not holstering a real Shorty from it. A OD green web belt with a different buckle, pained silver (not likely to find that) might work. Or just hide it, which should be easy enough if you do the vest. But it’s a great buckle, so if it’s something you might want to wear enough for the bucks get a good one.

Nixon Regulus Watch in sand. Or so it appears. Really, it seems to be the only thing close. But I also can’t believe I identified it and did so within minutes of looking at watches. Photos of the the watch face she wears are not high rez enough to be completely sure, but the combination of a sand band with square holes and a black buckle of that particular shape, which is what is clear in the promotional photo, with a square faced watch this seems to be the only thing.

Would Sarah? Sure, I guess, it’s supposed to be a good watch.

Would I wear? No way. That’s an expensive watch  to kill, so I’d have to wear it in a covered band and I can wear any watch in the covered band so why spend that?

Cosplay? I guess it also depends on how much you want to spend and maybe if you want a new watch. I though military/sport watches in this color would be more common than they are but no luck. That covered watch band (even if OD green with black Velcro is  impossible to find as the Velcro matches now) was real handy to hide  your watch or not even have one.

Accessories I haven’t identified

Combat boots: I never saw combat boots like she had in T2, either. Actually with the soles and the silver-colored eyelets, perhaps they’re work boots. This time they’re conveniently cover by the pant legs. ETA: Okay, maybe engineer boots…they look a lot like these Fryes. But maybe Skynet wants me to think so as these popped up as an ad on FB and I was struck by the similarity.

Would Sarah? Really, I’d like to see black eyelets blending with the boot. I could probably see her in a different sole, but might be just projecting my preferences.

Would I wear? I’ll stick to my Panama sole speed-lacers,  although I might try athletic sole tactical boots.

Cosplayers? If you’re cosplaying at a con, I recommend wearing what ever style black boot you are comfortable in and fit your budget. Your pant legs would be covering them, anyway. ETA: Fryes are a nice boot if you’re looking to spend the money, are comfortable and intend to wear them a lot given the price. Then again, Frye may be in funding Skynet or something. I’m really a bit suspicious.

Aviator sunglasses: I can’t believe I have identified the watch but not the exact sunglasses. Unlike the very unique Matsuda 2089 of T2, these are much more basic aviators. But not quite so basic that I have seen any and thought “that’s it!”

Oddly, I think I found her own personal sunglasses that we often see her wearing in fan photos off the set, which are somewhat different and have lighter lenses than the on-set ones.

Would Sarah? Sure, why not.

Would I? Sure, why not. I do have some little round ones, and, yes, because they reminded me of the Matsuda pair without being exact copies (which Magnoli Clothiers weren’t making yet). I do prefer wraparound sport glasses  for regular wear.

Cosplayers? Well, some might want the exact match so hopefully that will be identified. but aviators can also be considered “so basic you can find something that works” anywhere from $8 to thousands of dollars.

The bulletproof vest: This isn’t a real thing or it’s seriously obscure. I have searched, I have talked to vets, tactical magazine photographers and others and no one has seen anything like this, some of them have been asking others with gear knowledge. This somewhat resembles a plate carrier with PALS (Pouch Attachment Ladder System) webbing, but without bulk producing plates, of course.. However, while it has standard PALS webbing on the top, the cummerbund, which where you’d hang most of you gear with a MOLLE (MOdular  Lightweight Load-bearing Equipment) or similar system, is not PALS. PALS is uniform, 1 inch wide webbing, 1 inch apart, sewn at 1.5 inch intervals; like on the top part which is a PALS panel. Rather than having holsters and pouches hooked to PALS like plate carriers tend to have, this webbing is made to fit the grenades and revolver she’s carrying. I have yet to see a system like that. Also, most vests stop rather high on the waist and if they add more below it’s detachable and goes all the way down to protect the groin and upper thighs.

Costume designer Ngila Dickson does have a good bit of experience in fantasy body armor designs, given some of her past work. I’m not sure why they went with a non-standard design like this, other than perhaps aesthetics. And it is more attractive than plate carriers tend to look. Face it, they’re bulky even before plates are added, let along gear pouches. This is actually a disappointment to me, I’d like to see a more realistic looking vest, even if it was still highly modified for aesthetics.

Of course, I and my sources may we proven way wrong and this thing exists in real life. Please let me know if so!

Would Sarah? I think she’d be more likely to actually wear an actual plate carrier and to use the PALS as it’s meant to be used. But it’s not going to be very useful against a Terminator that can more precisely get a head shot than a human. Ballistic vests work on the realization that aiming for center mass first is the most effective way to stop a person.

Would I? Obviously, not this one. I’ll never say never for an actual ballistics vest, world is looking pretty grim these days.

Cosplayers? You’ll need to make or have made from scratch, or shot for the real thing and then redo it, or go for a more authentic real-life version over an authentic movie version, I guess. Who knows, Magnoli Clothiers might do one up someday.

Weapons

Thermobaric Grenades: You can see that one has “obaric” written on it and therefore the rest of the word is likely wrapped around each of them. I can’t think  of any other grenade related word that matches and if you’re fighting Terminators, I suppose this is a good option.

Would Sarah? Yeah, it makes sense. Not sure it would destroy a Terminator completely, but it’ll mess it up, burn off the skin (of the T800s and the like) to destroy any cover…I see it.

Me? Yeah, right.

Cosplayers may find replicas that can be easily doctored or probably rig something up. Of course any and all fake weapons for cons are subject to particular con rules.

Chiappa Rhino Revolver: not sure what model, will have to wait to see it drawn. but it’s the black anodized finish.

Sarah? Yeah, I guess. They’re good guns, she somehow obviously has resources. Not sure I’d see it as her first choice.

Me? Not enough of a fan for the price. Wouldn’t be my first choice, but if I had the money, it might be added to the collection I would have if I had the money.

Cosplayers? It’s actually easy to find air pistols (which some cons allow) and replicas of Rhinos, although wait to see which model.

Serbu Super Shorty Shotgun Remington 870 version, with holster There’s no mistaking this.

Would Sarah? Sure. This baby is expensive, but a nice gun if you need an up close shotty.  If she’s in an urban environment, it’s a shotgun she might choose. We know it takes a lot of rounds to affect a Terminator at all and it’s always best to keep some distance, but she might have other concerns than just Terminators.

Me? I’ll stick to my full length Mossberg. Although if I were suddenly flush I might do the Mossberg version, up close works for home defense even in the sticks. Yeah, honestly, I can’t even tell you why I am loyal to Mossbergs except my shotgun was the first gun I ever bought.

Cosplayers, well, good luck finding a ready made replica of gun or holster. If you can make the vest you might be able to replicate the holster. You might be able to doctor up the gun from some replica sawed off.

Anti-Tank Grenade launcher: Not sure on specifics, but maybe someone else has that info?

Would Sarah? Yeah, probably, it should slow down a Terminator.

Would I? Never even thought about it, until now. Obviously if I were in the market I might recognize the specifics of this one. That’s about the real thing though, otherwise see below….

Cosplayers? Actually I think this the best weapon for cons, ever. At least if you are also there to get autographs. Get an OD green document tube or paint one, doctor it up with some bits and stencil some lettering (waiting for more specifics for that) and you have something that probably won’t be banned from any con, it’s just a document tube, and a place to safely carry your photos. Try not to clobber anyone in the crowd, though. So this is one I might do, even if I wouldn’t be in full costume…. if Linda Hamilton,and hopefully also Natalia Reyes and Mackenzie Davis, ever does a con I can get to again, as I have made a poster of that first photo and would love to get it autographed by all three.

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So, that’s what I have at this point. Someday I may make a standard page for this and T2. Again, please feel free to discuss this with me.

20 years since Judgment Day

Today, when I start this (but likely not when I post it), is the 20th anniversary of Judgment Day.  On Saturday we went to see Terminator 2: Judgment Day in 3D, a rather big deal as the theater was 4 hours away. Also cushy with recliners.  And nearly empty so it was almost like having a private viewing with the only awareness of the handful of others a few rows behind was their laughter during quiet funny scenes.   I felt the 3D effect was well done, but then I am a big fan of 3D….it does help get my ADHD brain focused, it seems.  Something that might have helped given that I’ve seen T2 hundreds of times by now,  and usually watch while working out rather than lounging in a comfy recliner.  It was a memorable event.

Unlike, it seems my first viewing. Which seems odd for a movie I am so obsessed with. I realized this last year, when I thought about writing something for the 25th anniversary of the movie. It is one reason I didn’t, although the greater one was my focus on trying to save my dogs which meant I wasn’t writing much of anything. It seemed odd. I saw it several times that summer, but I don’t remember the first. I don’t remember if I saw it alone or with someone, although I remember seeing it with several other people at various times.

Mind you, I remember the first time I heard about the movie.  A few years ago I wrote this in my personal blog when examining the influence Sarah Connor had on my spiritual path, in the context of discussion going on in the Pagan blogosphere about pop culture in Paganism.

Never having seen The Terminator, I didn’t pay much attention when a friend, a mentor on the warrior path, and his roommate were talking about the second movie about to come out. I seem to remember them focused on Arnie and machines. *yawn* Later that day, I was a bit surprised when I visited other friends (at the time) who were not, AFAIK, Arnie fans anymore than I was, to find that they were all excited about Terminator 2 as well.Then they showed me her photo in a magazine (remember those things? ah, yes, tell me the machines aren’t taking over, after all). Linda Hamilton, dressed in black and with all that muscle.

You know how you don’t know you were looking for something until you find it? Yeah, one of those moments. Or rather it built, I sought out the first movie, got to the new one the first chance I got. The first moment when Sarah is on the screen doing chin ups was probably when it really hit. This was something I was looking for, I just hadn’t known it.

An Morrígan and Sarah Connor: Pt. 2 Warrior Cults and Charm Schools

I was into fitness before I saw the movie, working to become as strong as I could, walking a warrior path that I still strive for. To see real muscle on a female character in an action film blew me away….before I saw the movie. So just learning about it apparently superseded the actual first seeing of it….which then gets blurred with all the others. The chin-up scene is inspiring, every damn time, so the memory of the first…it just got lost in there, I guess.

Sarah's ionic chin upSeeing the scene in 3D, especially after so many viewings on my poor ancient TV that is in the gym, and the poor ancient VHS playing the poor ancient tape that I bough used as soon as it was available after renting it so many times (yup….the DVD player is in the living room….but it might get moved as the T2 tape really is on its last legs…and I do have two different DVD editions) was amazing, all the same. And from there it almost felt like it was the first time….except that I do know it line for line.  ~:p

26 years later and Sarah Connor remains my ultimate pop culture icon to this day. When it came out I did think we were about to have a great influx of physically strong female action leads in movies on a similar vein. And we really didn’t. We got a few, but most were not as relatable for various reasons.  We had super powered Buffy, corny Xena, potentially fun but not what I was looking for (tbh, the Buffy from the alternate reality appeared like she would have been much more appealing to me). We had quirky Tank Girl, which I liked but didn’t become fanatical about. It wasn’t until recently when Mad Max: Fury Road gave us not just the kick ass Imperator Furiosa but also the Vuvalini of Many Mothers who she came from and also allowed the “victim” wives to reveal their own strengths. And, of course, the new Star Wars movies offered more, including showing the strength Leia which was somewhat overshadowed in the first trilogy despite Carrie Fishers own strength and talent.

Looking back, T2‘s Sarah Connor really should have been more of a step than it ended up being because we needed to move forward from it. I love it, I love both Sarah and Linda Hamilton….but even before seeing it so large and 3D, I knew the movie itself failed its potential as far as the character could have been. Largely this is due to the need for Schwarzenegger to be the hero. While The Terminator, in classic Final Girl fashion had Sarah start off helpless but be the one to kill the monster in the end and then twist the Final Girl formula by showing her having already started the journey to become a warrior and heading on to continue it, T2 ended with her falling short of saving her son and herself and the T800 needing to come in to save them. To be honest, I think T2 without Schwarzenegger might have been far better, to have the Terminator who helped them not be top billed, not be the hero at the end. Sarah should have been the actual lead, but was not.

The movie also fell into the Not Like Other Girls/One of the Guys trope. To some extent as this was a sort of “nuclear family unit” (you can take or leave the obvious pun in there as you wish) thing that is understandable. However, it could have been circumvented a little by more background women in roles that were not so “motherly.”  Oh, you have the security guard, but other wise you have Janelle, not a good mother but still considered by the authorities to be better than Sarah, obviously, you had the nurse and you have Jolanda.

Jolanda was, actually a poor portrayal from a survivalist stand point. The oldest child was old enough to hide with the others and be ready to defend them if his parents were taken out.  Jolanda should have flanked the three intruders when Enrique confronted them. That alone would have been a huge step. Or, you know, at least have her come out from hiding securing a long gun.

A few obviously female cops might have helped. It looked like there might have been a couple in the stand off outside Cyberdyne….but all recognizable cops were clearly male. There really were female cops in 1991.  Hell, there were in 1984 but it was made clear that all the ones in the station in The Terminator were “men with families, children.”  Given no real substantial female roles other than Sarah, I feel it fails the Bechdel Test although it’s been given a disputed pass.  After all, “Open it or I’ll pump him full of this shit!” is still talking about a man and the guard doesn’t seem to be named.  I don’t think “Get on the floor, bitch. Fucking down now!” really counts either. Her greeting with Jolanda is kind of “to the side” and not really a conversation but is the closest thing to giving it a pass.

Of course, despite Jame Cameron’s attack on Wonder Woman (something I may or may not comment on more at some point), it’s been made pretty damn clear that Terminator 2 was never about Sarah Connor lately. Even more so than it always has been. This is an Arnold movie, all following movies were Arnold movies including the one he wasn’t in at all. Sarah was incidental. The only time I have seen her character brought up while all the talk of the 3D release and Cameron’s upcoming reboot of the series has been, yeah, when it was used to attack an actual woman-led movie directed by a woman. Otherwise you’d think Sarah Connor wasn’t even in the damn movie. She certainly won’t be in future ones, instead Cameron is making sure that Arnold is in the first to pass it on to new characters. We certainly never will get anything like the once hoped for William Wisher script bring Sarah Connor back and “closing the loop.”

There are multiple Terminator franchise fandoms, really. I think the two that are hardest to reconcile are the ones focused on Future War and the one, such as the SCCS is part of, that focuses on Sarah Connor/Linda Hamilton as the real lead of the first two movies. We clearly dreamed, when we still had dreams of good sequels (something some FW fans still might dream of, but I think those of us who are only in it for Sarah and only as played by Linda have given up), of far different sequels. Sarah’s story was best told in a continued battle with time trying to reset, with pushing the date of Judgment Day further into the future but still having to fight to keep it from happening. We did get a few okay, if not great sequels in that vein in comics and novels. We got one really horrible TV series attempt.  It’s clear by omission that Cameron has no interest in this sort of future for the franchise.  Of course, the reset is needed to be considered….we’re now closer to the date when the Terminators and Kyle Reese came through than we are Judgment day.  But no Sarah. No Linda.

Coming back from seeing T2 again on the big screen, 26 years older than i was when I saw it the first time. Still in awe of Linda’s strength, inside and out…and feeling a bit old, to tell the truth …I remember a long time debate with myself about the alternate ending showing Grandma Sarah 30 years after a Judgment Day that never happened.  Of course, I question the possibility of a Senator John given his mother’s felonies and his own involvement….I suppose it’s possible, he would have been seen as a kidnapped child.  But given the blame likely to have fallen on Sarah not just for what she did do with reason but also for murders committed by the T1000 and by the police (Miles Dyson’s death would be put on her and her vanished accomplice, obviously), would she ever be free and not in hiding?  Well, that might be workable.  We’ll never know.

First I was glad it wasn’t used, it could have been used to end the franchise and I had hoped for at least one sequel not long after T2 with Sarah fighting to keep the Future War from happening. And, yes, one without Schwarzenegger. But, well, we know what happened instead so. …  Then I wished to Gods they did end it there. But now I see how much of that was caught in my relative youth. Wanting to see this in my 30s with a 30something Sarah, because by 50 we’d both have withered away, right?   ~:p

So thinking about this now, just 10 years from that ending, I can’t help but think how utterly awesome it would be to have had this ending and ….go from there! To have all this “it’s completely over, all is peaceful(ish)” and then time starts to finally try to reset. And Grandma Sarah and Senator John have to find their inner warriors, and we probably find out that Grandma actually has kept prepping and kept fit all along, and fight Terminators from the future.  After all, now that I am over 50 and I am still prepping and still training, I so damn much want to watch 60 something Sarah kicking ass!

But, i can guarantee you that James Cameron is not waiting for my advice on this.  Not that he seems to be someone who listens to anyone, anyway.  But…damn…yeah, this is the sort of thing that is my total fanon now.  So I am going to leave this at that thought.  I hope those who want to see this and haven’t are able to…in the US some AMC theaters are running it tonight and tomorrow.

 

Saigh’s bio

Surviving the Future

By Aivlys_Nagrom

Some say men are made for hard labor and women for nurturing. That may be seen as a basic fact of life to some, but what isn’t so basic is what those things mean, especially in this day and age.Whiskey Jack/Gray Jay

What isn’t so basic is what those things mean. Sometimes nurturing means protecting, and sometimes protecting means violence. For some women, the instinct to fight only comes up when their children are threatened. For others, it comes up whenever someone looks at them the wrong way. And then there are those who never tap into that vein at all, who simply fall off the cliff of becoming victims.

I’ve had apocalyptic dreams since I was a child. And I’ve always aware of and concerned by the fact that modern society has led us further and further away from the natural world. Basic facets of how we survived in the past have fallen away. Farming, blacksmithing, animal husbandry, hawking, hunting, tracking … these were all fairly common skills for men until the recent past. Women knew canning, soapmaking, herblore, sewing, weaving, took raw goods and made them into meals, clothes, medicine. Now we unwrap packages, press a few buttons, pour a few sauces or spices over something, and men grill store-bought meat on store-bought grills. In a way, every modern convenience we snap up widens the disconnect between us and the planet we walk on.

Warnings and speculation about the End are becoming pretty commonplace, even as worst case scenarios unfold before us on the nightly news. At this time, Japan is in a state of crisis following the devastation of earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear explosion. Natural disasters, climate change, nuclear threat, plagues, battles for resources … these things no longer inhabit the realm of paranoia or imagination. They’re in the headlines. They are monsters in front of us, monsters of our own creation, and they’re getting closer every day. Personally I don’t think we’re going to get hit by one single event. I don’t think a nuclear World War 3 will wipe out most of humanity within a few days, or that life as we know it will come to a screeching halt on 12/21/12. Instead, I think we’re facing a slow, horrible descent into devastating wars for dwindling resources, third-world living conditions, and possibly extinction. Whether it turns out to that the future holds epidemics, water wars, food shortages, a classic Armageddon meteor, or all of the above, most of us will be pretty helpless without our modern conveniences. What do you do to prepare? How do you get ready? Should you stock up on rice and peanut butter? That might sound like a good idea after a few hours of CNN, but really? You’re better off filling your head than your pantry. Even canned goods don’t last that long.

My dad is something of an outdoorsman, and he taught me some basics. Nothing too intense, but enough to where I probably would have had a decent shot at surviving a stint in the wilderness up north at a pretty young age. By the time I was five I knew what to do if I was stuck in a blizzard (snow fort) lost in the woods (follow stream to river or use the sun to guide me) or kidnapped (run, even if it means jumping out the window of a moving car). I knew how to dig cat-o-nine tail roots and make pine needle tea. Of course, now that I live in Florida, most of this knowledge probably isn’t going to be very helpful, but I’ve always sort of picked up little tidbits and information. And this is what I’ve learned; knowledge is power.

You can’t be ready for everything. Learning native plants isn’t going to be a huge help if Yellowstone blows and buries your hometown in ash, knowing karate isn’t going to save you if a nuclear bomb falls on your head, and having a larder full of canned food is going to be useless if a bomb, flood or earthquake obliterates your home. But it just may happen that in some dark future day, you might find yourself homeless and broke. There may come a day that yourself are your only resource, or that someone else looks at you and sees you as a resource or a trophy. You can either do nothing now, and set yourself up to be very vulnerable, or you can build yourself a safety net …. in your own body and brain. You might be married to a Marine or a wildlife expert, but if you’re relying solely on him, that reliance could be your downfall if something happens to him. If I had the means, I’d have a castle with huge walls protecting an orchard, a stocked fishpond, cattle, horses, and a garden. I’d have solar panels, cisterns and an herb garden, and be within walking distance of the sea. This would all also be protected by wolves and owls, and my friends and I could spend the years after the apocalypse learning how to brew really good beer. In reality, I have about a backpack’s worth of camping gear, a few really good books, a head full of trivia, and the ability to keep my calm in crazy situations. The last is by far the most important.

Here are a few tips for women.

BUY SEEDS. Buy lots of seeds. Save your seeds carefully. Seeds are cheap and light.

LEARN HOW TO GARDEN AND COMPOST. This isn’t just a worst-case scenario survival thing. Look at the list of ingredients on any processed food item and ask yourself if you really want to eat things you can’t pronounce, much less identify.

LEARN HOW TO DRY FISH AND MEAT Buy a small smoker.

BECOME FAMILIAR WITH THE RAILROAD TRACKS IN YOUR AREA. Know where they go. In the event of a huge disaster, everyone’s going to try for the road. If you really need to move, a railroad track might be a better bet, especially once you’re a bit out of the city.

KNOW THE WATER ROUTES IN YOUR AREA. You might be better off in a kayak or boat than on foot.

LEARN BASIC HERB LORE Guessing at plant uses can be deadly, but even just knowing the uses of a few local plants could be very helpful.

LEARN SELF DEFENSE/WEAPONS USE No further explanation needed on that one.

LEARN NATURE. I struggled with how to describe this one, and just picked the basic way. Let yourself learn the sort of knowledge that saw us through the first ten thousand years of civilization. Look outside for the nearest tree, and see if you even know what kind of tree it is or if you know one thing you could do with it other than chopping it down to get wood. This isn’t just about survival. This is about getting to know the planet. We only have one, after all.

GET BASIC SUPPLIES. If you can fill a pantry, buy a cabin, build off the grid, or dig a bunker, great. Have at it. If nothing else, put a backpack together with some basics (the usual, rope, knife, garbage bags, hair ties, vitamins, underwear, etc.) Watch enough videos to have a good idea of how to start a fire (just in case) and throw matches and lighters in there. Include a pumice stone (lightweight and will do the job in case you run out of soap), garlic, basic camping-type gear. Don’t forget a comfort item or two – an Ipod, a pleasure-reading Kindle, nail polish, perfume, photos of your loved ones, whatever you think will keep you from completely losing your mind in a really bad situation. Sometimes it’s the little things that keep you grounded, and sometimes being grounded will save your life.

GET A SURVIVAL-DEDICATED KINDLE and fill it with useful knowledge about farming and tracking and basic medical herb lore and maps, first aid, canning techniques, soap making, etc. Of course it would be better if you could learn all this, but for a lot of us being able to access what you can’t memorize may be a lot more doable. The internet, wonderful store of knowledge it is, will be inaccessible if there are no satellites. Books are heavy. But a Kindle can run independently. And there’s a lot you can put on a Kindle that may be worth saving. You can download the Army survival guide. Instructions for building a solar generator for under $300. Plans to build an eco-friendly self-sustaining house. While you’re at it, get a solar-powered battery charger.

CAMOUFLAGE TECHNIQUES. You may have absolutely no plans to creep around the woods or a war-struck city at night, ever, but just having the foresight to damp your jewelry and darken your skin and hair could save your life in a situation like that. (Bonus: stock up on mud masks. You can be sneaky and give yourself a facial at the same time)

BE GREEN. Buying eco-friendly dish soap or organic tomatoes may not help you out a whole lot in a worst-case scenario, but in the end you’re either a part of the problem or a part of the solution, and war over resources is a front-running contender for Really Bad Thing Most Likely To Happen. You can choose to support companies that engage in things like factory farming, genetically modifying crops and animals, animal testing, pollution, poisoning the Gulf of Mexico, or fracking … or you can choose not to. If you love animals, don’t support companies that treat them cruelly.

KNOW YOUR LOCAL TERRAIN If you live in Vegas, you might want to learn a bit about desert survival, and so on.

KNOW WHAT YOU’RE CAPABLE OF I love Bear Grylls, but there’s no way in hell I’m scaling a cliff wall or eating live grubs. I have a crap memory so I’d probably kill myself trying to identify edible wild plants from memory, but I can recognize a few common ones, and I know a few fairly idiot-proof fishing techniques. I know how to purify crappy water (boiling kills germs but doesn’t clean the water), how to desalinate seawater, how to harvest seaweed, and how to make bark edible.

RETHINK WHAT YOU’RE CAPABLE OF – Instead of waiting to feel strong, learn how it feels to declare yourself strong and then step into it. All the strength you need is inside you. You don’t need to wait for the end of the world to tap into it. Doomsday may never come. But any step that takes you away from the path of a victim to the path of a survivor makes you a stronger, better you.

REDEFINE WHAT YOU’RE CAPABLE OF – If you work out regularly, read regularly, and keep yourself informed by reading survival blogs, you can wake up every day stronger and smarter than you were the day before.

RELAX. Live. Love. Laugh. Knowing how to unwind and re-set your mind might be more important than you think. Prepare for tomorrow, but live for today.

Women today have to be ready for anything to happen at any moment. That’s ok. Our greatest strengths lie within us. Maybe in the end, that’s what separates us from men.

Article copyright © 2011 Aivlys_Nagrom and The Sarah Connor Charm School
Photo copyright © 2001 Saigh Kym Lambert

Survival Food Strategies for Real Food Minded Modern Warriors:

Tips and Tricks for Stockpiling Survival Foods for Long-Term Storage with Preservative-Free, Chemical Free Options…
 Preserving lots of jars

 

Survivalist, Disaster Plan, Preparedness, TEOTWAWKI.

These are all words that conjure up end of the world scenarios in which, we are humans must fight to survive.

One of the key components to surviving an apocalyptic event is food storage. No matter the scenario, if you are going to survive to fight another day, you must be well nourished and fed not all stripped and burned out from eating heavily processed foods that you have had in the basement for the past 10 years. Most survivalists are well-versed in the MRE or Meal-Ready-To-Eat. These are much touted in the neo-survivalist community for their ability to be stored for years, and lightweight enough to grab and stuff in your bug-out bag, when you need to get the hell outta Dodge. But they don’t offer much in the way of nutrition.

Although I think having a few MREs on hand for very dire emergencies is OK, there are some major issues with them that caution me from making them my primary source of apocalyptic food. These factors also make me question having them on hand at all. They are full of preservatives, contain very little dietary fiber, and have an abundance of trans fats. All of which can wreak havoc on the body, weakening you when you need to be strong and making it hard for you to be at your best physically, thus earning them the nickname of “Meals Requiring Enemas”. You really don’t want to be dealing with constipation, hives, or projectile vomiting when you are running for your life in the wilderness or fighting off Terminators.

Bullets, Beans and Band-Aids is a common phrase used to describe survivalists and what they tend to stockpile for TEOTWAWKI. The first and last, are great, but it is the middle, beans, that I have a problem with. For most people this means canned beans. Modern cans are made from materials that contain BPA a known estrogenic, which interferes with hormones. Another thing that is not good for those who want to be in optimal physical shape. Plus heavily preserved beans create a lot of flatulence and you don’t want to put yourself in the position of being “sniffed out” by marauders.

So what is a Survivalist to do?

Here are a few suggestions that my family has implemented in the past year that has worked out great:

Food Rotation

Food rotation means having non-perishable foods that your family enjoys on hand, in large quantities. These foods may not have more than a year to two for shelf life. That is OK, the plan is to eat them as part of your regular meal rotations, and replenish as you use, making sure to always have a 1-2 years supply (depending on the shelf-life).

Examples of foods to have on hand:

Canned Fish – tuna, salmon, mackerel, kippers, sardines, anchovies. . If you can find wild caught, all the better. These fishes are great for Omega-3 fatty acid intake as well as a great dose of protein. Good things for your muscles, including the most important one – your brain. You need to be at your best both physically and mentally to survive and thrive.

Pasta and Rice – these can be made to bulk up any number of recipes and stretch food supplies. I suggest organic pastas and brown rice as they have many more nutrients than their generic counterparts, an important component for survival foods, plus, a good part of a healthy diet today. You can also try other grains like quinoa, buckwheat and barley.

Nut Butters – great source of fat and protein. Add protein to your oatmeal in the morning. Spread on bread, use as a binder in baking, or eat off the spoon for a quick jolt of energy. You can choose from a large variety – anything from peanut butter to almond and cashew. You can also store large batches of these raw nut varieties and make your own as the need arises.

Organic or Preservative-free Food Pouches – like TastyBite Indian entrees (also Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods sell other brands). A Taste of Thai is another brand that can be found in most supermarkets. There are very few added ingredients of harm and they are good in a pinch. All you have to do is boil the pouches in water for 2-3 minutes. For your rotation, take them to lunch or use them as a base for dinner by adding fresh meats or veggies to it. Kids love these too.

Preserved Foods – if you do any gardening or have a farmers market nearby consider preserving your own fruits and veggies, either through canning, lacto-fermenting or dehydrating. If you absolutely can’t do this, then make sure to buy canned fruits and veggies with as few ingredients as possible. Fruits should only have the fruit and their juice; veggies should only have water and salt to preserve them. This won’t save you from BPA, but at least you aren’t also adding corn syrup and weird chemicals to your body.

Fun Items and Condiments: If you are surviving on your stored food for a long period of time, you need to make sure your meals have variety or you will soon grow bored and your morale will be sure to drop. Having favorite condiments on hand like ketchup, mustard, barbecue sauce, etc. will help. So will having items like pickles, olives, capers, sun-dried tomatoes, roasted red peppers. You can toss these into pasta or beans and rice to give them a depth of flavor. Be sure to choose items that your family already enjoys so you can use them in your rotation.

Dark Chocolate and Raw Honey – both sweet items that are good for energy and can be stored almost indefinitely, especially the honey – use in baking, cooking, drinks. Stir in oatmeal, or other hot cereals and/or yogurt. Definitely great pick-me-ups in a drab world and can be eaten and enjoyed in the world as we know it right now. Besides sugar is bad for you, so you might as well do your body a favor and get on less processed sugars right away.

Dry Bean and Whole Grain Storage: Did you know that whole dry beans and grains like wheat berries can be stored for decades if packaged properly? That’s right. They have found wheat berries in archaeological digs that are still good. The important thing is to get the grains whole, and then have a way to grind them, without electricity, into flours for baking. You can also eat them whole and use them to feed livestock. They can also be sprouted as a way to add fresh produce to your diet, even in the worst of times. Using food grade storage buckets, Mylar bags and oxygen absorbers are the way to go for long term storage items. I suggest keeping some for your rotation and then storing some for super long term storage.

Livestock – for true survivalists having your own livestock can mean life or death. Livestock insures your family fresh food year round whenever you need it. You can also make things like yogurt, butter, cheese and have milk to drink and eggs to eat. Having some fresh foods in your diet is so important not just for survival but morale. Of course you can enjoy all the benefits of having livestock even if the world is not over. They make great pets and keep you connected to the natural cycles. Something you will need to familiarize yourself with when there is no electricity or running water.

Pemmican, Nuts and Berries: For a different take on the MRE and perfect for your bug out bag, consider foods that are good for you, have a decent shelf-life and that can be easily transported. Pemmican comes to us from the Native peoples of North America. It is a highly transportable and highly nutritious food. It is a combination of dried meat and fruits and held together with fat. Mmmmm…fat.

My favorite producer of Pemmican is the Native American owned and produced TankaBar . This version is made with buffalo meat (high in CLA and higher in B-12 and iron than other red meats), dried cranberries (an antioxidant) and an herbal-based preservative. I believe it is also lacto-fermented. The shelf life is one year, and you can buy in bulk to save money. Or you can make your own . If neither of these options works for you, you can find many all-natural-nitrate free jerkys – beef, salmon and turkey are just some of the options out there.

Whether you go for pemmican or jerky, having a good supply of raw nuts and dried berries (try to find no sugar added, sulfate-free) available is a great idea. If you have to bug out, having a bunch of portioned out baggies containing some of all these items is perfect for the grab-n-go scenario. For your rotation, you can make trail mixes with them or just eat them plain. The goal is to make these a part of your family’s regular diet and replenish them as you use them up. All of these items make great snacks and quick breakfasts.

These suggestions are better than having MREs or the types of food supplies that many survivalist websites and books suggest. For one, you don’t know if you family likes the taste of those foods until you open them after the world ends. If you have to survive on them for a year or more and you dislike the food or someone in your family has an allergy to something in it, you are in big trouble. No food, means no survival. It is a big risk to take. Both for your health and your wallet – on foods you aren’t used to.

I have briefly touched on many different topics in this overview. This is the beginning of a series of posts on this topic and I need you to tell me what directions to take. So in the comments, please let me know which topics you’d like to learn about in more in depth.

Thistle is a SCCS member who also has a food blog, The Leftover Queen