Pennsif's Progress #617 - The 10 Mile Radius Project - levelling up for scavengers

in steempress •  last year  (edited)

When you watch any good post-apocalyptic movie or TV show a big part of the life of the survivors is scavenging.

They are always hunting for food, or petrol, or medical supplies ... and usually get into some sort of tricky situation in the process.

I am sure you know the story, seen the movie and got the T-shirt.

Prepping in real life is not all about the post-apocalyptic scenario. We would have needed to hit a Level 4 or 5 event on Pennsif's Personal SHTF Scale to be treading that path.

But as I said in my previous Pennsif's Progress post I endeavour to prep for all eventualities and levels of uncertainty.

So prepping for a scavenging scenario is a go in my book...


Scavenging v Theft - when does the needle flick over?


Before I get into my idea on how to prep for scavenging I want to back up a bit and just take a reality check.

I am an honest citizen, so I have to take a mindcheck on when I would consider it appropriate to start scavenging.

Scavenging too early would really just be another term for theft or looting.

On my Personal SHTF Scale that I published in my last Pennsif's Progress post I am pretty sure I would be looking for a Level 4 or Level 5 event to be totally comfortable with taking other people's stuff without permission.

Thinking further on this, and taking into consideration the needs of family and the likely lack of available law and order (WROL anyone?), I might see even a Level 3 event as my morally acceptable entry point into active scavenging.

The line for me would though still be whether the owner of what I was wanting to take was alive... and present, or likely to be returning anytime soon.

Pow - there's a big puff of greyness shot up there. How would I know if they might be returning to claim possession in the near future?

And what if it was a matter of live or death for my family? Vital medicines for example? Water, food...

The 10 Mile Radius Project


I live on a homestead where I plan to stay. Bugging-out would be a super last resort.

On the homestead we are stockpiling and building as much resilience and self-sufficiency as we can. But if those high level bad times do come a-calling I am also making plans to be as effective as possible in scavenging the local area for additional supplies.

Learning from the movies, the key to successful scavenging is knowing where to go as quickly as possible.

You need to know where the supplies you want are located and how to get there and back with maximum speed.

The key to all this is knowing your local area.

To help with this I have started my 'Ten Mile Radius Project' to systematically search and document the useful resources potentially available within a 10 mile (16 km) radius of our homestead.

The choice of 10 miles as the radius is calculated as the distance I could comfortably walk there and back, laden on the return journey, in one day at any time of the year. This assumes the worst case of having no other means of transport.

Ten miles radius gives over 300 square miles of territory to search and document.

My starting point is the local Ordnance Survey map and a piece of string to mark out an approximate 10 mile radius centered on our homestead.

I use this as a basis for searching and recording useful resources.

If you haven't got a paper map to hand, check out this great online radius drawing tool to get an idea of the area included in 10 miles around where you live :

The 10 Mile Radius Project - what am I looking for

I am using a mix of ways to search the area - on the ground visits, paper map examination, Google Earth maps and satellite images, local directories, local newspapers and an array of other online sources.

Most of what I am looking for, and recording, is quite obvious :

  1. Gun shops
  2. Hospitals, doctor surgeries, veterinary practices, pharmacies
  3. Petrol stations
  4. Agricultural suppliers, hardware stores and anywhere that might stock generators and batteries
All of these are top level resources that will be early, prime targets that would likely be picked clean very quickly.

I haven't even mentioned supermarkets and other food stores as they will be emptied within a day or two - even in lower level emergency event scenarios.

If you want to take this project concept a stage further you can turn it up a notch or two and hover on the edge of just plain stalker-mode.

When you level up to Elite Stalker Prepper you might start to ...

  • Find out where all local doctors live - they might keep some emergency medical supplies at home. Likewise community nurses and vets.
  • Check out local gun clubs and clay pigeon shooting clubs. Can you find out where the members live - there might be guns in them there hills.
  • Track the farmers, farmers, farmers - they commonly have guns, red diesel tanks, and electric fence batteries.
  • Look up Pest Controllers - they often have guns.
The list goes on. Limited only by how far off the scale you are prepared to go.

The Big Red Bottles - My Personal Favourite

I live in the countryside where very few people are connected to mains gas.

Some people have large Calor Gas tanks, but many people use bottled gas.

While it is not transportable on foot, if the means are available grab all you can.

We use 47kg propane cylinders for our cooking. On average we use one bottle about every 6 - 8 months. We keep three at any one time.

An even more interesting use of propane is for electricity generation. Diesel and petrol are likely to disappear quickly. Fewer people will be collecting the gas cylinders. And the gas is safer to store and doesn't, as far as I know, go off like liquid fuels.

LPG converted generators are readily available, for example in the UK :

There are many resources available to convert petrol or diesel generators to run on gas, for example : And there are several videos on YouTube showing how to install conversion kits, for example :


So now I'm a red bottle spotter.

When I am out and about in our local area I make a note when see any gas bottles - homes, farms, public buildings, blacksmiths, caravan parks...

And of course bottle gas suppliers - you can look these up online as well.


So that's my little hobby of the moment.

Is it prudent and resourceful?

Or too wierd and stalker like?

Have I been watching too many movies? Or am I earning my hardcore prepper stripes?

In every good prepper there's a wierdo just waiting to get out...



While you are here check out these to see what else I do :

[ images by @pennsif ]

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Not stalkerish at all. I have marked maps of resources in my area including taps, toilets, scrap yards, pharmacies etc etc etc...
Personally i would not like to go beyond 6 miles, as a 12 mile round trip would be very time consuming, draining and leave a deficit back at my place....
Gas bottles are a real winner, yeah, they have so many uses like you say.
Time would be the critical factor, the 'Grace-Period' of salvage time. (Before available resources start to deteriorate).
Its hard to predict what you will need, but so long as you have resources marked and noted, you will know where to go should you need them...
The key would be to update your info - It could well be a bargaining chip in the future too!

Good to hear I am not the only one doing this !

Time will be of the essence for sure.

An excellent post @pennsif and not at all weird IMHO and a great addition from you to PV. As I'm less than a mile away from the center of Leeds (which brings about it's own problems), there is a potential abundance in a much smaller radius but greater threats to.

Thanks to you both,
Eggy Robster

I used to live in a Midlands city. Definitely a different animal to deal with there...

In the movies the disaster wipes everyone out but leaves their stuff. Real world disasters are more likely to look like the Great Depression. Lots of very poor people scrounging to get by for 10 years or more. It's a grim thought.

Having a good water source, a big garden, and the means to get by without any utilities are probably going to do you the most good. You seem well prepared on those fronts.

Our biggest area of lacking at the moment is electricity. I really want to move on some PV & battery capacity as soon as the funds appear - part of why I joined steem to earn and save for that...

How little electricity can you live with and what are the most critical uses? It is probably easy to imagine how you could cut way down on your electricity use if it was an emergency. For us, it would mean using non-electric heat and just living without A/C. A small PV/battery system for LED lights would be easy to justify. Our well pump draws a huge amount of current, though. We would probably need to pump water by hand. Refrigeration is on the bubble for me - for a short term outage of a month or two I can use a gasoline generator. If we were without power for a decade, though, I don't know if it is possible to keep a refrigerator working. A giant bag of salt might be a better emergency resource than a generator in the long run.

Hahaha. Too weird and stalker like. Man, if the SHTF that hard, all that matters is if you make it through or not.

Your post did make me start thinking though, and other than the cows across the road, there aren't a whole lot of resources in ten miles that aren't individual residences. Definitely something to think about...

I live way out in the rural Welsh countryside. But it is amazing what you can find when you start looking in the nooks and crannies.

Of course, most of us don't condone stealing to get ahead. If you don't consider stealing as an option, however, you may never pull the proverbial trigger when the time comes. I will remain an "ask for permission" rather than an "ask for forgiveness" until your scale's level 4 and 5 happens. After that, I believe wholeheartedly my mindset will change.

It is difficult to know how I will react and how I would change when the going gets really tough.

At what point does a new rule book come into play...

Given the current breakdown of the 'government' your doomsday scenarios may be a step closer.

They do seem to be getting themselves in a bit of a pickle !

Although I expect the mass populace is more concerned about the result of a certain football match tomorrow than what may or may not go down in Westminster...


Host of The Alternative Lifestyle Show on MSP Waves Radio.

Editor of the Weekly Schedule of Steem Radio Shows.

Founder of the A Dollar A Day charitable giving project.


A good time to bury bad news?

They wouldn't do that, would they? That would be naughty.

Ok.. the free map tools is a FABULOUS thing!
We moved to this house and property just over two years ago, and since I am a homebody I didn't realize there were so many different places and locations within 10 miles of my home that could be of use to use in the event of an emergency- so I thank you for that.

I love exploring the maps - both paper ones and online. It is amazing what you can find !

Love it! For sure there is a grey area between theft and scavanging... I think we will know perfectly well if we've entered a Mad Max kind of world or if we're only on our way there!

I really like this 10 mile radius project. Evennif there is no need to scavenge knowing where all that is near you is great knowledge. Many people don't know where the nearest hospital is!

Thanks for the good read @Pennsif. I'll read your shtf scale post soon too