Title: Steal This Book Today (3rd Edition)
Date: 2024
Source: <stealthiswiki.com>
Notes: This is too long to be printed out in its current form, but every wiki page has a linked print-ready PDF. There's also a book builder feature for combining various wiki pages together into custom print-ready PDFs.

    Original Introduction by Abbie Hoffman

    Aiding and Abetting

      Original Aiding and Abetting

    Table of Contents

  — Survive —

  1. Security Culture


      Electronic Communication

      Web Sites








      Safe Sex

      Tough Love

      Unnecessary Criminal Activity




      Security of Your Security Culture


  2. Free Food


      General Guide

      Blood and guts

      Dumpster Diving

      Day Old Bread Stores

      Free Drinks

      Hotel Grazing

      Fast Food Chains

      Convenience Stores

      Movie Theaters


      Hospital Cafes

      Free Milk

      Free Candy

      Free Meat and Cheese

      Grocery Stores

      Sikh Temples

      Free Food For Your Own Church

      Bird Bread

      Own a Pickup?

      External Links to Free Food Resources

    Cooking Basics


      A Few Helpful Hints on Cooking

      Measurement Conversion Tables

        Temperature Conversions

      Planning Meals

      Waste Not


      Flavors and Spices

      Pressure Cooking

      Solar Cooking

      Basic Solar Cooker

      Using Old Cookbooks

      External Links



      What You need

      Firearm Observations

      Spotlighting Deer


      Urban Pigeon

      Gutting and preparing meat


      Furred animals





      General Guide





      Fish Tickling





      Avoiding Poisonous Plants

      Universal Edibility Test

      Ethical Foraging Guidelines

      Edible Plants




      False Dandelion(Catsear)

      Field Corn


      Miner’s Lettuce



      Palm Fruit

      Broadleaf Plantain(Plantago)


      Strawberry Tree(Arbutus)

        Strawberry Tree Jam



      NOT Eating Out

      Fast Food

      Sit-Down Restaurants

      Dealing With and not Pissing Off Restaurant Staff

      The Walk-out

      My Food is not Cooked Right!

      Turning Employees


      It Has Been a Long Time and My Food Is Not Here!

      Restaurant Waste

    Food Programs


      Food not Bombs

      Food Stamps (SNAP)


      Religious Organizations and Shelters

      Feed a Yippie



      Getting Food Extra Cheap

      Sample Surfing

      Discount Stores


      Shopping List


      Self Check-Out

      Lifting a Meal

      Marketing Scams

      Munchies and Hungries

      Papers Please

      Gift Cards

      UPC Tricks

      Bakery Coupon Scam

      Club Card Warning

      Working at a Store

      The Dumpster

      Wholesale Markets

    Farm It


      General Farming

      What to grow

      Farming Techniques


        Guerrilla Farming

        Tire Farming

        Trash sack

      Open Field

        Preparing a Field



        Plastic Sheet

      Open Source Ecology

      The Organic Way

      Organic Pesticide Solutions

      Organic Fertilizers


      Crop rotation

      Farm Animals



        Outer cover

        Inner cover

        Hive body and hive super



        Frame length

        Frame depth

        Frame width

        Bottom board








      Animal Medicine

      Canning and Pickling

      Canning Process

      Processing Times

      AgriBiz and Seeds

  3. Free Clothing


      Getting Clothes


      Thrift Stores

      Big Box Stores

      Hand Me Downs


      Donate and Give Back

      Make and Repair your Own

      Clothing Insights

      Outdoor Clothing

      Walking Billboards


      Work Uniforms

      Hidden Pockets

      Deodorant and Hygiene



      Apartment Laundry

      Campus Laundry

      Corporate Laundry



      Air Wash

      Piggyback Laundry

      Homeless Shelters and “Opportunity” Drop In Centers.

      Creek, Stream, and Ocean Washing



      Skinning and Storing



      Final Preparation

      Doing Business

  4. Free Shelter

      Free Shelter Articles

    The Street


      Reasons to Leave Home

      Physical Abuse

      Sexual Abuse

      Reasons not to Leave Home

      Dangers on the Streets


      Evil Helpers

      Choosing Good Helpers

      Personal Needs



      Getting Off Drugs


      Rape and Battery Support Groups

      State Welfare Services

      Foster Home




      Health Clubs

      Men, Women, Roommates, and Safety Pacts

      Crash Pad Romance

      Mental Illness



      Sympathy Psych

      Destitute Sheltering

      Alcohol and Cold

      Hot Water

      Other Tips


    Low Impact Crashing



      Portable Electrical Cooking

      Pots and Containers


      Pot-in-Pot Refrigerator



      Other Stoves

      BBQ Grille


        Newspaper Logs

      Chimney Stoves

      Hobo Stove

        Buddy Burner

        Hand Sanitizer Stove

        Advanced Hobo Ovens

        Box Oven

      Washing Clothing



      Bucket Wash

      Public Restroom

      Drying Clothing

      Improvised Clothing

      Clean Water


      Garden Hose



      Solar UV Sterilization (SODIS)


      Fire Sprinklers (and Why You Shouldn’t Use Them)





      Indoor Bathing

      Shower Bottle

      Frugal Bathing

      Hot Water

      Outdoor Bathing

      Showers for Sailors

      Baby Wipes



      Power Jacks

      Pop open the meter

      Alternative Voltages

      Outdoor Power Taps


      Long Runs

      Free Electricity


      Stealth Light


      Staying warm



      A Word on Batteries, Solar, and “Wind-Up” Gadgets

      Pest Control

    Free Land

        Adverse Possession

        Repo Your Own House From the Bank

        Free Kansas land

        Undeveloped Land

        Should I commit to building a home?



        Questions to Ask Yourself

        How to Build A Home

        Cheap home, urban setting






        Internal vs. External Frame Packs


        Sleeping Gear

        Sleeping Bags

        Sleeping Pads

        Bivvy Sack


        Food Preparation


        Liquid Fuel

        Compressed Gas

        Open Fuel

        Solid Fuels

        Triangia Stove

        Drink Can Stove



        Pressure Cooker


        Mess Kit

        Forest Forage



        Drinking Systems











        HF Radio

        Handheld Radios

        Packable Sat-Com



        Power Generation


        Flashlight and Headlight

        Bug Repellent



        Walking Sticks

        Tools and Repairs

        Other Skills




        Where to Stealth/Free Camp


        Hot Springs

        Deep Wilderness

        Avoiding Vagrancy Problems




      Choosing your tent

      Cheap Tents

      Wear Prevention


      Tarp Tent

      Rain Protection



      Log Cabin


      Dutch Ovens





      Troubleshooting Liquid Fuel Pressure Stoves and Lanterns



      Water Conserving Cleanup


      Cold Caching


      Barbecue Grilles

      Other Options

      Fire Lookout

      Forest Fires

      Replacing Consumables

      Camp Farming

    Urban Living


      Moving Out





        Plumbing Basics

      Legal, Leases, and Landlords



      Starting Out Cheap

      Inexpensive Apartment

      Weekly Rate Motels


      Rooming Houses

      Roommate Situation

      Sofa Surfing

      Homeless Shelters

      Creative Methods

      Free Naps



      Spaces between and behind buildings


      Storage Space Rental

      Bike Locker

      Tent Cities


      Underground Structures

      Abandoned or Unused Structures

      The Street

      Suburban Living

      Garden Shed

        Garden Shed Kit


      Squat a House

      Fuel Up

    Free Furniture


      Improvised Furniture

      Plastic Milk Crates

      Free Boxes


      Foam and Bean Bags

      Recycled Junk

      Auto-man Furniture

      Lawn Furniture

      Kids Stuff

      Free Furniture


      Diving for Furniture



      Build Your Own Furniture

      DIY Japanese Screen

      Frame Bed

      Victorian Curtain and Canopy Bed


      Moving the Stuff

      Hand Truck


      Cycle Moving

      Find a Friend With a Truck

    Rural Living


      Rural Housing

      Communes and Compounds

      Stealth Camping

      Creative Construction

      Recycled Sea Shipping Container

      Straw Bale




      Mobile Homes

      School Bus

      Interesting Rural Places

      Slab City

      Immigrant Labor Camp

      Black Mesa Navajo


      Adverse Possession


      Remote Areas Development Manual

      Peace Corps Building Manual


      Original Rural Living



      Legal Issues

      Foreclosure Squatting

      Authorized Foreclosure Squatting

      Disputed Loan Hassle



      Leak Management



      Shower Enclosure


      Door and Frame

      A Warm Bed

        Cargo Pallet Bed


      Living Arrangements

      Stealth Squats

      Defense in an Eviction

      Original Content


      How to Form a Group

      Choosing Your Team

      Assembling Your Squat Team


      Finding a Building and Investigating It


        Triage Marks


      Inspecting the Building


        Major Code Violations


        Interior Inspection


        Floor Joists



      Getting In

      Outside Door

      Posting Your Claim


      Establishing a Claim

      Emergency Repairs



      Temporary Roof Repairs


      Frame Repairs

      Stair and Floor Repairs


      Debris Removal

      Asbestos Safety

      Document Homestead Repairs

      Light, Heat, and Fire Safety



      Kerosene Heaters

      Wood Stoves



      Makeshift Toilets, Water, and Cooking


      Food Storage

      Alcohol Stove


      Make it Comfortable



      Legal Hassles


      Registered Mail


      Neighborhood Association

      Bureaucracy and Eviction

      Welfare and Children

      Public Officers

      Legal Notices

      Public Safety Evictions

      Public Support


      Outside Links

    Free Electrical Power


      Free Electrical Power


      Basic Supplies

      Tapping Street Lamps

      Tampering With Electrical Meters

      Getting at your meter

      What you're looking at

        Decreasing Usage

        Reactivating Cut Off Power

      Cutting Power

      Generating your own

      Rotary Generators

        Alternatively Fueled Generators


        Free Hydroelectricity

        Free Wind Power

        Other possibilities

      Dielectric Generators

  5. Free Transportation

      Free Transportation Articles

      Outside Links to Resources

    Pack Your Bag






      Stash a Pack

      Pack Lockup




        Splashed Electronics



        USB Key/Disc

        Mobile Phone

        E-book reader

        Wake Up




      Wilderness Gear, and Urban Crash Gear

      Washing and Drying Clothes

      Washing Up



        Nail Clipper

        Warm Water



      Sewing Kit

      Toilet Paper


      Hair Dryer


        Diving Gear

        Immersion Boiler

        Travel Iron



      Fun and Games

      Quick Packing List

      Not Overpacking




      Phone Cards



      General Delivery




      The most important things to remember about hitchhiking are

      Who picks up hitchhikers?

      Truckers and CBs


      Road repairs

      Event Caravans



      Traveling Together

      Alternatives to the Thumb


      Helpful Links



      Getting a Bike


      Kinds of Bikes


      Cargo Bikes




      Ride Safe


      Crash Positions

      How to Lock Your Bike

      Disguising Your Bike

      Stashing Stuff

      Smart Security Tips





      Bikes and other forms of Transit


        Touring Gear

      Cross Country Camping

      Inner City

      Folding Bicycle

      Keeping it Working


      Portable Tools

      Road Crud


      Wheels and Tires



      Yellow-White Bicycle Share Programs

    Cycling Gear


      Cycling Gear






      Toe Clips and Clipless Shoes



      Super LED Lamps

      Sound Signals

      Weather Protection

      Safety Equipment

      Rain Suits

      Rain Capes


      Handlebar Covers

      Tire Studs

      Carrying cargo


      Handlebar Bags

      Saddle Wedge Bag



      Bucket Panniers

      Pizza Delivery

      Cargo Mule


      Types of Locks

      Tent Trailer

      Generators and Dynamos


      MP3 and FM Radio

      Motor Assist


      Bike types

      Magneto Electricity

      Legal Motors




      Passenger trains

        Abusing Open Returns


      Types of Rides


        General Manifest


      Getting on and off


      Finding the Right Train


      Hobo code of ethics

      External Links



      Don't Drive

        Walkable and Bikeable Cities

      Get a Motorcycle Instead

      Save Gas

        Steal Gas


      Car Co-op

      Basic Maintenance and Emergencies

        Starting and Trouble Gear

        How to Use Jumper Cables

        Rolling Start with Manual Transmission



        Check your Fluids

        Advanced Repairs and Tips


      Road Trips

        Roadtrip Checklist

      Car Dwelling

        Parking Tips

        Car Cover



        Truck Canopy


        Interior Decorating





      Cooking and Heating

        Engine Block Cooking

        Tailgate Cooking

        12 Volt Cooking


      Legal for Cars

      Candid Camera

      A Few Words About Biodiesel

      Smoke Screen

      Free fuel - The wood gas generator

      Steam Powered Cars

      Produce Your Own Ethanol

      Running Your Current Car on Store Bought Ethanol

      Recycling a Car

      External Links






      Fre-E-Ticket Hopper

      Missionary Position

      Around The World Tickets

      Air Courier


      Support Gear

      Beating the Luggage Surcharge

      Sky Phones




      Heavy Baggage

      Camping Gear


      Stowing Away

      Mail Yourself

      Fly Your Own Plane

    Sail Away


      Buying and Preparation






      Stowing Away and Cargo Cruises

      Pirate Radio

      International Maritime Law


      Outrigger Canoes

      Weblinks to cheap boat buying sites

  6. Free Education


        Free Education

        Free Database Access


        Teach Your Children Well

        Free E-Books, Audio Books, and Educational Resources

        Outside Resources

        Free Education Articles

    List of Free Universities

      List of Free Universities

    Internet educational resources


      Universities with free educational content

      Educational podcasts

      Language Education

      Other free resources

    Free High School


      Homework, Classwork, Exams

      Computers and Software





      Student Government


      Acting Nice


      Protest Movement


      Mediums for Public Expression


      The Principal's Office


      School Paper

      The Cafeteria

      Parental Issues


      Gulag Schools

      How to escape if abducted by a "boot camp"

      Surviving Gulag Highschool

      Alternative Graduation


      Post-Secondary Enrollment Option

      Sample Plan For Leaving Home

      Parties, Booze, Drugs

      Fake ID

      Parties and the Pigs

      Illicit Drugs



    Free College Life


      Choosing a College

      Rip-Off Colleges

      The Admissions Process

      College Level Examination Program

      College Life

      Freshman Shock

      Singles and Dating

      College Textbooks

      Withdrawing Classes

      Fraternities and Sororities



      Downsides of College Life

      Losing Revolutionary Thought




      Get Involved

      After College

      Student Loans

      Academic Probation

      Deciding to Get an Advanced Degree

      Get a Job

  7. Free Medical Care


      First Aid

      The Emergency Room

      Free Clinics

      Medical Tourism

      Stretching, Massage, and Exercise

      Old Vitamin Names

      Eyes and Eye Glasses

      Links and Further Reading

      Free Condoms

    The Free Pharmacy


      Common Household


      Over the Counter

      Recycled BigMed Prescriptions

      Write Like a Doctor or Nurse

        A note on forging prescriptions




      Prevent Infection


      Urinary Tract and Bladder Infections

      Boils and Abscesses

      Tooth Abscesses

        Brush Your Teeth

        DIY Toothpaste

        DIY Oral Rinse

        Dental Schools

      Fungal Infections

        Eliminating the Tinea Fungus

      Digestive System Bacterial Infections

      Clostridium difficile

      E. Coli



    Common Illnesses


      Rules for Illness


      Other Illnesses

      Chicken Pox/Varicella


      Tuberculosis or TB




    Diseases and Conditions






      Heart Attack



      NOT Getting Injured

      Cuts, Punctures, and Lacerations

      Broken Bones


      Trench Foot

      Frost Bite

    Mental Illness


      Psychology Basics



        Curing Depression in General

      Winter Blues

      Obsessive Compulsive Disorder


      Relocation Stress Disorder/ Stress


      Delusions and Hallucinations


    Pregnancy, Abortions, and Child Care


      NOT Getting Pregnant

      Emergency Contraception

      Symptoms of Pregnancy




      Birth Preparation


      Child Care



      Child Proof your House!

      Drug Use and Kids

      Potential Pitfalls

      Divorce/ Breakup

      Child Support and Visitation

    Skin Care


      Baking Soda

      Lemon Juice




      Egg Mask

      Powdered Milk Bath

      Stocking List


      Chapped Lips

      Chapped Hands

  8. Free Communication

      See also

      External links

    Press Conferences

    Use of the Flag

      Abbie Hoffman on the Yippie Flag from 1970




      Small Broadcasters

      Shortwave Radio

        Receivers and Antennas



        Related websites


      Crystal Radio

      Original Radio

    Making Music





        Make PVC Clarinet in A3


        Make a PVC Flute







      Home-made Instruments


      Digital Music DIY Now





        Recording Studio

      On Air


    Free Telephones


      Landline Phones

      Calling Cards

      Cellular Phones

      Prepaid Cellphones

      Phone Banking

      Cell Phone Security

      Phone Demo

      Sim Cards


      Your own Phone Company

      Your Own Mobile Phone Company

      Phone Taps



      GSM/CDMA hacks

      Onboard Vehicle Help Services

      Lifeline and Link-Up


      FRS Radio

      Radio Tricks

      Pig Radio

    Internet Communications

        Communications via the Internet


      Using Email Securely

      Looking at Web Pages Securely

      Social Networks & IM (Instant Messaging)


      Flash Burns

      Remember Pattern Matching

      Email - What it is and isn't! (and thoughts on security)

        The Bottom Line...


      Free email sites

      Local Email

      How to Post Information on the Web

      Domain Name

      Keep It Simple


      Social Media

      Blog & Micro Blogging

        Popular Blogging Services

        Micro Blogging Services

      Social Networking Sites

      College or Personal Web Space


      Photohosting Sites

        Photo File Security


      Video on Torrent or Video sites

        Vagabond Video

        Smart Phones

      Usenet and Listservs

      Internet Phone Communication — VOIP (Voice over Internet Protocol)

      Instant Messaging Anywhere

      Internet Relay Chat

      Free Webhosts

      Random Free Goodies

      Web Radio Streaming

      Network Printing


      Wi-Fi network



        Cyber-Hobo Code

        Where to Sit

        Car Surfing

      Cantenna, Antenna or Woktenna


      Community Wireless Co-Op

      Pirate Wireless

      Piggybacking Restricted WiFi Access

      HTTP over DNS

      Cellular GPRS and 3G

      Mobile Acess Point

      Bluetooth Sniping

      Wired Ethernet

      Subnet Sniffing


      PPPoE and VPN

      Mac Address Spoofing

      McDonald’s Free Wifi



      pgp and gpg

      TOR Onion Servers

      SSH encrypted shell access

      Disk encryption

      Network Stealth

      Disguise Your Gear

      Covert Server

      Shell Accounts Game

      Wi-Fi and DMZ — A router to put your box on the net

      Dynamic DNS

      Generic Owned Box plugged into an Open Network

      Arousing Suspicion

      Anonymous Surfing

      Off By One

      Mozilla Firefox — Portable Edition


  9. Free Play


        Free swim

        Bonfire parties/drum circles

        The Mall

        Rent-a-cop Psyche 101

        Movies and Concerts



        Free Games

        Free Computer Games


        Pirated Computer Games

        Demo Game Systems at Big Box Stores


    Movies and Concerts



      MPAA Avoidance

      Walk In


      Press Tickets

      The Pit

    Records and Books






      Original Records and Books

    Skiing and Boarding


      Free Skiing and Boarding Through Hitching



      Riding for Free At the Resorts

      Getting Free Lift Tickets


      Resort Dorm

      Snow Camping



      Ski and Board Bum Survival Tips

      Cross Country

      Types of Skis


      Kick Wax

      Haul Sled


      Winter Nutrition

      Field Repairs

      Snowmobile Towing

      Snow Caving

  10. Free Money




        Asking nicely

        Authority figure

        Pandering to a tribe

      Windshield Cleaning


        Online Gambling

        The Lottery

      Selling Your Body




        Kidneys and other Major Organs


        Escort Service, Prostitution, and Strip Clubs

      Online Surveys/polls

      Lost Money at the Corpgov Treasury


      Loose Change





      Our Current Situation

      Personal Econ

      Supply and Demand


      Welfare / Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)

      Disability / Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

      Food Stamps / Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)




      Cheating Employers



      Work the System




      Gun Buy Back

      Donation Boxes

      State Highway Administration

      The International Yippie Currency Exchange

      Grifter Tricks


      DIY Inflation

      Trying automated in store coin counters with foreign coins

      Edited 1969 Original The International Yippie Currency Exchange

    11. Free Dope


      NOT Doing Drugs

      A Cautionary Note

        A warning to those on the streets:

      Breaking Free of Propaganda

        Bad Sources of Drug Info:

        Good Sources of Drug Info:

      Drugs, Dangerous, Harmless, Everything in between

      Fairly Harmless Drugs

      Moderate Risk Drugs (Use sparingly)

      High Risk Drugs

      Extreme Risk Drugs (Avoid Usage)

      Making Plans & Not Getting Caught

        Tips for not getting caught:

      Free Dope

      The Stoner Culture


      Safe Use / Harm Reduction

      Getting Clean

    Cheap Thrills



      WARNING! Dangerous Additives in OTC and Prescription Medications

      Cold Water Extraction

      Dextromethorphan (DM or DXM)


      Benadryl (aka Diphenhydramine)

      JWH-018 and related chemicals/ “herbal incense”/ Potpourri

      Morning Glory Seeds

        Cold Water Extraction

      Hawaiian Baby Woodrose seeds




      Ephedrine and Psuedoephedrine


      Psilicibin Cubensis/ “Shrooms”

      Fly Agaric Mushrooms (Amanita Muscaria)




      Nitrous Oxide


      Non-Chemical Thrills

      Yogic Breathing

      Stroboscopic Lights

      Binaural Beats



    Buying Selling and Giving it Away


      The Burn

      Ask Questions

      Fake Dope


        Strains of Weed

      Medical Weed



      Giving It Away

      Drug Prices

    DIY Paraphernalia


      Makeshift Devices

      Bongs and Pipes



      Safe Materials

      Pipe and Bong Legal Considerations

      Residue and Cleaning

      Wine Bong Water Myth

      Joints and Blunts

      Rolling Papers

      Rolling a Joint


      Blunt and Joint Observations


      Joint, Pipe, and Bong Etiquette

    Growing Your Own


      Obtaining Seeds

      Sprouting Seeds

      Outdoor Growing

      Backyard Outdoors

      Guerrilla Farming

      Transplanting Outdoors

      Bugs and other Pests

      Indoor Gardening

      Special Concerns With Indoor Growing

      Starting Out

      Grow Lights

      Light Timer


      Stages of Growth and Sexing

        A note on “worthless” males








    Drug Testing


      Places and Times to Expect a Drug Test

      What Drugs Are Tested For?

      Kinds of Drug Tests

      Length of Time Drugs Stay in System

      Beating Urine Drug Tests

      Beating Hair Tests

      Common Myths

      False Positives

      more reading

    Strange Brewing


      Beer Brewing

      Brewing Tips

      Hard Cider



      Ice Shine





    Detox and Rehab Programs


      The BigMed Rehab System


      Inpatient and Behavioral Health Units

      Gulag Inpatient Rehabs

      Rehab and Behavioral Health Unit Life

      Half-way Houses

      Staying away from Future Slavery

  12. Assorted Freebies






      Drinks and Food




      External links



      Where to Find

      Dumpster Diving

      Free Samples




      Pound Puppies


      Food and Board

      Service Animals

        State rules

        Airplanes & Housing

        Free service animal

      Spaying and Neutering

      Medical Care




      Media Mail

      Library Mail

      Priority Mail — Flat Rate

      Mail Proxy

      General Delivery

      Original Postage


      Easy Clergy Ordination

      Real Ministry

  13. Get a Job


      Where to find Work

      What you need


      Quick Employment

      Legal Considerations

      Job Ideas

      Union Work




      Agricultural and yard labor


      Seasonal Work


      Micro Farming

      Online Sales

      Selling Crafts and wares


      Food Service


      Advertise Yourself



      Freelance Writing

      Mystery Shopper/ Survey

      Truck Hustling

      Get a Job Articles

    Join the Army of Your Choice



      Recruiter Promises

      Enlistment Process

      Getting out of Delayed Entry Processing

      Dishonarble Discharge/ Entry Level Separation and Jobs

      AWOL and Desertion

      Benefits as a Veteran

      Draft Dodging



      Las Vegas


      Theme Parks

      Permanent Vacation/ Drop out

      Working Vacations/ Travel Jobs and Agencies

      Medical Field Travel

      Teaching Abroad

      The Carnival/ Fair (Not the circus)


      Cruise Ships

  — Fight —


  1. Leadership


      Leadership Training



      Problem Solving



      Join In


      Delegate Authority


      Know your Troops


      Take Responsibility



  2. Problem Solving


      Problem Solving

      Use a Team

      Define the Problem

      Choose and Implement Interim Options

      Identify and Verify Root Causes

      Choose and verify Permanent Corrective Actions (PCAs)

      Implement and validate PCAs

      Prevent recurrence

      Congratulate your Team

    Starting a Printing Workshop


      Starting a Printing Workshop

        Put new stuff here.

      Computers and software

      Computer Printers

        Economy Hacks



        The free copy route:

      Binding Books

      Quick Binding Books

      Paperback Binding Books

      Jellygraph copiers

      Making The Printer

      Making the Master

      Using the Printer

      Cleaning the Printer

      Jellygraph Master Pens

        Mixing the Ink

      Silk Screen Printing

      What you need

      Making your Screen


      Buttons and Badges

      Bumper Stickers

      Using contact paper

      Using bumper-sticker paper and an inkjet printer

      Get them Printed





      Mimeograph Machines


      Electronic Stencils

      Silk Screening

  3. Tell it all, Brothers and Sisters

      Tell it all, Brothers and Sisters

    Underground Newspapers


      Basic Supplies

      Writing and Formatting



    High School Papers


      Why a Newspaper?



      First Amendment Legal Help

      The Killian Nine Story

    Wall Painting


      Wall Painting


      Stenciling Design

      QR Codes




      Cycle Pasting

      Hobo Code

      Using New Hobo Code

      Culture Hacking

      STOP Signs

    News Services


      News Services


      Guerrilla Underground Network (GUN)

      Independent Media Center (Indymedia)


      Real News Network

      Want To Know



      Original NEWS SERVICES

    Public Speaking

      Public Speaking

      Persuasive Speaking

      Group Education



      Banners and Signs

      Banner Drops

      Banner Hoists

      Modified CrimethInc Hoist


      Hoist and Drop

      Balloon Suspended Signs

      Balloon Choices

      Sticky Balloons

      Audio Signs

      Banner Construction

    Guerrilla Audio


      The basics



      Amplifiers and Power Supplies

      Sample ideas


      Effect of wire type and diameter

      Mobile PA vs. stationary event PA

      Full-spectrum music system

      Frequency Filters

      Speaker placement

      Troubleshooting a sound system

      Why is there no sound playing?

      low input voltage?

      line noise

      audio feedback

      Overloaded aka Bottomed-out Amplifiers

      Concert Systems

      Power supply



      Speaker placement

    Guerrilla Broadcasting


      Transmitter Kits

      Homebrew Transmitters


      Power Supply


      Playback Equipment

      Amp it Up!



      Antenna Feed Line


        Twin Lead


      Putting it All Together

      Coverage Survey and Publicity

      Radio Station Rebrodcast Override

      Shortwave Broadcast

      “Legal” Unlicensed Broadcasting

      Guerrilla Television

      Microwave Override

      Experiences of TV Signal Override

      Free-To-Air Satellite TV

  4. Computers


      Obtaining a Computer

      Older Computers

      Most Common Problems with older Computers and the Solution


      Linux Thoughts

      Linux Love

      Live CDs

        Damn Small Linux






      Recovering Files Off of Hard Disk

      Recovering Windows Passwords


      Computer Information recovery tools


      Notebook Computers


      Old Laptop Converted to Fast Linux

      Laptop Protection

      Laptop Security, Locks


      Smart Phones and Pocket Computers

      Closed Phones and Pocket Computers

      Wired Ethernet and Wi-Fi

      Mobile Power

      Portable Device Security

      USB Key

      OS boot

      File Security

        Wiping Flash Memory

      Portable Versions of your Most Used Software

      Hacked Linux Routers


      Packet Radio


      Other sound card modes of digital communication

      OSCARS Satellite communication

    Free Software




      Live CD




      Office Suites




      Instant Messaging




      The GIMP





      MPEG Streamclip



      Linux Audio Software


      Frets On Fire

      Liberal Crime Squad


      Wikipedia list of Open Source Games






      Related Websites

      Open Clip Art Library


      Other Software Download Points

    Information Warfare



        Cell phone jamming

      Physical Jamming

      Computer network jamming

      EMP bursts


  5. Community Centers


      Questions to Ask

      Finding Space



      Essential Services

      Information and Public Outreach


      Education, Seminars, and Events


      Radical Printing


      Media Center, Podcasting, and Broadcasting



      Identifying Plants

        Types of Plants:

        Preventing and Foiling Plants


      Security Culture

      Sabotage, Thievery, and Embezzlement



        Finding Communes

        Radical Communes

        Starting your own Commune

        Vision/Goals Statement

        Group Decision and Communications Process

        Start up Money

        Define Your Legal Structure

        Community Bylaws

        Get a Bank Account

        Collect Assessments from Members

  6. Demonstrations



        Shock Autograph

        Dildo Microphone


    Revolutionizing the Masses


      Revolutionizing for the Masses

      Talking to the Mainstream

      Avoiding Unnecessary Controversial and Offensive Comments

      Assessing Community Needs

      Radicalizing Oppressed Communities

      Assessing Incipient Revolutionary Groups



      Working Together

      Avoiding Conflict

      Cost to Benefit Ratio

    Tree sitting


      Where to Set up

      Setting up Camp

      Cooking fires

      Communal beds

      Kitchen bender



      Wood bender


      Post Box

      Climbing the tree

      Trees without branches

      Building your home in the tree

      Living in the tree

      Preventing Extraction

      Preparation For An Eviction

      During an Eviction



      Lock Down

      Suspended Platform Cable Lock-Ons


        Walkway Seats

      Act dangerously

      Keeping away climbers

        Climber-Proof Platforms

      Keeping away the cherry pickers

        Supporters on the ground

        Ladders and Poles



        Scrap Cars

        Tire Punctures


        Railway tracks





        Starting Off

        Tunnelling Basics



        Digging Further


        Tunnel Doors



        Fortifying The Entrance

        Living underground


        Tools and Equipment

        Eviction Stashes

        Imperial/Metric conversion


      Positive Defensive Tactics

      Banner Drop

      Build a Website

      Write an Article

      Call the local newspaper

      Witness Camp

      Other Tactics

      Sky Raft


      List of current tree sits

    Lock Boxes




      Scouting the Target, Planning the Action

      Gathering Materials

      Method Summary

      Design, Construction, Adaption, and Fortification

      Practice and Transport

      Once You’re Locked Together

      Urban Lockup

      Police Reactions, Legal Consequences


      Extra safe

      Sleeping Dragon



    Monkey Warfare


      Monkey Warfare


      Shake, Shake, Make Your Own Scraper Quake


      Super Foam Distraction

      Tyre Fyre

      Killer Bees

      Intercom Fun

      Coughing Break

      Bitter Memories

      Moth Man


      Traffic Trouble

      Dumpster Fires

      Etch Glass

      Dissolve a Building

      Photo Radar



      Monkey Warfare, the Movie


  7. Trashing








      Action Camp

      Legal Preparations




      Communique and Press Coverage



    Weapons for Street Fighting

        Weapons for Street Fighting


      Molotov Cocktail

      Anti-tire Burrs

      Track Team

      Abrasive Personality

      Pigs on Horses

      Bike Locks for Pig Bikes


      Rolling Road Block

      Fuel Adulteration


      Pepper Spray Blaster




      Improvised Street Weapons


      Spray Cans

      The Slingshot



      Tear Gas and Mace

      Anti-Tire Weapons

      Authentic Pig Game

    Unarmed Defense


      Unarmed Defense



        Incoming Attacks

        High Attacks — Block One — Slap

        High Attacks — Block Two — Crazy Monkey

      Fighting stance





      Break Falls

      Center of Balance

      Throws and Takedowns

        Leg Throws

        Hip Throws

        Hand Throws

        Fireman’s carry/ Shoulder Wheel

        Shoulder Throw






      The groin




      Original UNARMED DEFENSE

    General Strategy Rap

        General Strategy Rap


    Underwater Trashing

  8. People’s Chemistry

  9. Hip Pocket Law

      Legal Advice


      Legal Advice

      Pig Psyche

      The ‘Attitude Test

      The Pig Game

      Endgame Scenarios

      911 is a Joke

      Remain Silent


      Pig Lies

      Be Smart

      Free Legal

      Real Law VS CorpGov Rule


      Petty Crimes

      Three Strikes

      Smart Tips

      Original Legal Advice

    Undercover Cops


      Identifying Police

      Cops Themselves


        Car Model


        False Ideas

    Organize a Labor Union


      Starting Out



      Using an Established Union to Represent You





      Strike Fund



      Lock in

      Sit in

      Hunger strike

      Banner Drop

      Hold Workshops

      Lower risk action

      Slow down

      Dirty protest

      Take over

      Terms of Settlement

      Union as a Vehicle for Radicalism

      Weak Union

    Prisoner Support


      Sending Stuff

      Legal Aid

      Outside Support

      Letter Campaigns



      Adopt a Prisoner


  10. Steal Now Pay Never



      Guns and Thievery


      Pawn Shops


      Car Rummaging

      Legally Stealing, CorpGov Approved Style!

      Original Steal Now Pay Never



      Supermarket and Retail Security Methods


      Admission of Guilt

      Product Placement



      EAS tags


      Found Receipts

      Getting Caught

      Trespass and Burglary

      Tips and Tricks


      No alarm


      Watches and Clothes

      Intentionally getting monitored



      Employee Arrest

      Tag Scanner


      Original SHOPLIFTING









      Metal Bag

      Small Electronics

      Just Run!

      Emergency Exit

      Brick in the Wal



      Under Cover

      The “Confidence” Method



      Stealing Makeup

      Mail Call

      Double Team

      Sidewalk Sales




      Quick electronics


      Original TECHNIQUES

    On the Job


      Anti-Employee Theft Techniques

      Pre-employment screening

      In-Store Employee Anti Theft Measures

      Common Methods

      The Trash Run

      Buffet and Restaurant Scams

      The Walk-in Cooler and Freezer

      Working at a bookstore

      Donation Bin Sorter

      Get Promoted

      Original ON THE JOB

  11. Piece Now





      Which weapon do I want?

        Other notes:

      Black Powder Firearms and Their Advantages

      Home Made Firearms

      Pipe Pistol

      Pipe pistol, cap and matches

      Pen Gun

      Silent Pistol, Bolt Action

      Improvised Barrels

      FP-45 Liberator Pistol

      Manufacturing and Reloading Handgun Cartridges

      Smokeless Powder






      Starting Out


      The M16/5.56mm is unreliable/has no stopping power/is a bad rifle

      The AK series of rifles is incredibly inaccurate

      Fully automatic firearms are easy to get


      A note on caliber


      Bolt actions

      Semi Automatic

      Other Mechanisms


      Build a Long Gun

      STEN Submachinegun

      Original Rifles



    Other Weapons


        Household Items Repurposed



        Bug Spray

        CB Antennae Rapier

        Aircraft Paint Stripper

        Melee Weapons


        Knuckle Dusters


        Ancient Warfare




        Repurposed/Improvised “Firearms”

        Paintball Guns

        Potato Guns


        Coleman Flint Install

        Piezo-Electric Install

        Camera flash ignition


        Alternate Ammunition

        Alternate Propellant

        Air Powered

        Dry Ice

        Baby Spud/Ball Gun

        Flare Guns

        Heavy Weapons


        Thermite Device



        Mortar Shell Launcher

        “M-16” (Mortar)

        Less Than Lethal

        Tasers And Stunguns

        Mace/Pepper Spray

        Homebrew Pepperspray

        Wear gloves during manufacture!


        Flash Guns

        Original Other Weapons



      Original Training

    Gun Laws

      Gun Laws

  12. S.E.R.E.


      The Bust

      Decision process — Fight or Flight

      Outstanding warrants


      On Foot


        Down a manhole

        Infrared cameras and helicopters


        Police dogs


        In the Wilderness


        Water Crossing

      In a Building

        Residential Homes



        Fire System

        Rope Escape

        BASE Parachute


      In a car



        Oil Slick

        Police “spin stop”

        Spike strips

        Police Bikes




      Squad Cars

      School and Charter Buses

      Holding cell










      Work Crew

      Drugs and weapons



      Tap Code



        Cutting Metal

        Sodium Chlorate





      Basic movements


      Surfaces and Structures to Consider


      Chain-Link Fence


      Emergency Use


      Training Grounds

      Parkour And Other Martial Arts

    Get the Hell Out of Dodge


      Prep Work

      Taking some money

      Civil Forfeiture

      Euros and Dollars

      General Delivery

      Gold and Silver

      Credit cards, Checks, or Bank transfers



      Getting Across the Border

      Canadian border

        Overland hike



        Legal surface crossings

        Air and Boat

      Mexican Border

        Over Land Hike

        Legal surface crossings

        Air and Boat


        Boat Crossing

      Air Travel and Stay ID Requirements




      East Asia

      Southeast Asia


      South Asia



      Middle East





        South Africa

      South Pacific

      South and Central America



      New Zealand




      Student Visa

      Religious Worker Visa

      Tourist Visa



      Get Married


      Extradition Treaties

      Making your New Home Work






      Dye and Hairstyle



      Piercings and Tattoos


      Hard to Change features





      Business Dress



      Insider Help

      Unhappy Workers

      Security Systems


      Motion and Infrared Sensors

      Alarm Line

      Hostile Situations





      Outside Links




      Car Door Locks

      Tubular Locks

      Picking Lever Locks

      Warded Locks

      Pin Tumblers

      Freeze the Lock

      Lock Bumping

      Traditional Tension and Pick

      Door Jack

      Push Knife


      Combination Locks

      Kaba Simplex Vulnerability

      Videx CyberLock

      Copy a Key

      Plaster Mold

      Align and File


      Tin Can Copy

      Hand Cuffs

      Prox cards

      Magnetic Stripe Cards

      Practice and Advice

      Stick a Lock

      Locks this guide can’t cover

      Outside Links



      Food Caching


      Gun Cache


      Marking a cache

  13. The Underground

      The Underground

        The Pledge Of Allegiance Defiance

      11. Original The Underground

    Identification Papers


      Identification Papers

      Possible Sources

      My IDs Were Lost/Stolen/Destroyed!!!

      Fake ID Cards

      Using a Corporation as an Identity

      Real ID, Fake Person

      International Driving

      Other Notes




      Modern Communications

      CB vs Ham Transmitters

      Frequency charts


      Low-band frequencies

        Name Frequency Notes

      VHF frequencies

        Name Frequency Notes

      UHF frequencies

        Name Frequency Notes

      FRS and GMRS

      Pocket Radio


      J-pole Sat-Com Yagi Antenna

      Brazil SatCom Nuts


      Taped Broadcasts

      Secure SneakerNet

      Easy Cyphers

      Solitare Encryption and Decryption


      Book Code

      Original COMMUNICATION

    Asylum Seekers



      Law Enforcement Contact

      Safe Houses

      Legal Asylum

      Continuing the Fight

      Fugitive Support Kits

  — Liberate —

    Free New York

      General Guide




      Medical Care

        Free Clinics

      Legal Aid

      Armed Forces/Deployment Avoidance Counseling



      Underground Papers


      Public Transit

      Free Clothing and Furniture

      Assorted Freebies


      Original Fuck New York

    Free Portland, OR

      General Guide


      Dignity Village


      Goose Hollow Shelter

      Transition Projects




      Medical Care

      Legal Aid

      Armed Forces/Deployment Avoidance Counseling





      Underground Papers


      Bicycle Collectives

      Public Transit

      Light Rail


      Long Distance Bus


      Free Clothing and Furniture

      Assorted Freebies


      General Guide

    Free England



      Medical Care

      Legal Aid

      Armed Forces/Deployment Avoidance Counseling



      Underground Papers


      Public Transit

      Free Tube / Overland Rail Travel / London Buses

      Bunking Trains

      London To Portsmouth

      Somerset To London (South West Trains)

      London tips

      Abusing Open Returns

      Hopping the train between Cardiff and Newport, Wales, UK

      Free Clothing and Furniture

      Assorted Freebies


    Free Black Rock City AKA Burning Man


      General Guide



      Medical Care

      Legal Aid




      Free Clothing and Furniture

      Assorted Freebies

    Free Tibet



      Free Food and shelter

      Camp with nomads

      Stay at Buddhist monasteries

      Free Transportation

      Getting in

      Getting around

        Pilgrim Bus

        Mountain Bike

      Free Education

      Free Medical Care

      Free Communication

      Free Play

      Free Dope


      Assorted Freebies



      Legal Aid




  — Appendices and Tables —

    Common Phrases in Different Languages





      Body parts





      Common Phrases in Different Languages

      Other Words


      Other Phrases

      “Pointy-Talky” books


    Cheap Chow


      Spanish/Latin American

      Spanish Beans and Rice




      Refried Beans

      Pan-Asian, Wok-Cooking, and Rice

      Wok Cooking

        Tools in Order of Need

        Stir Fry

        Water Fry

        Deep Fry


        Pot Sticker

        Wonton and Egg Roll


        Cleaning and Seasoning Your Wok


      Chinese Pancake Wrap






      Egg Noodles

      Garlic Bread

      Jewish Noodle Cake

      Italian Red Sauce

        Tomato Paste

      Misc. Meal Staples and Snacks

      Potato and Roots

      Tough Meat


      Indian/South Asian

      Lentil Curry with Chapitis Bread


      Tomato and Cheese Soup on the Cheap

      Split pea soup

      Oats and Grains

      Energy Bars

      Whole Kernel Wheat




      Simple Cookies

      Biscuit Mix


        Beer Bread

        Self-Rising Flour


        Sourdough Bread



        Store Loaf

      War Cake

      Hardtack Crackers

      Baking Powder Substitute


      Pie Shell

      Mock Apple Pie

      Cheese and Dairy

      Sour Milk

      Powdered Milk and Eggs


      Egg Substitute

      Mozzarella Cheese


      Cream Cheese

      Sour Cream


      Parmesan Cheese


      Fruit Juices


      Coffee Substitutes



    Roadside Chow


      Roadside Chow

      Cooking Under Pressure

      Spanish Beans and Rice

      Lentil and Rice Storage and Travel Soup


        Spicy Ramen Pasta and Soup

      Draining Pasta Without a Colander

      Pasta Sauce Leathers

      Creative Pizza

      Grilled Cheese Sandwich

      Mulligan Stew

      Roadside Soups

      Beggars Chicken

      Creative Cooking

      Car Cooking


      Hot Water Pot

      Sandwich of Irony

      Field Corn

        Plain Corn Bread

        Ash Cakes

      Stinger Soup

      Street Salad

      Coffee Bar

      Backpacking Biscuits




      Native Fry Bread (Aka: Bannock, A Canadian First Nations Staple)

      French Toast

      Upside-Down Cake

      Easy One Bowl Generic Cake

      Travel Food Planning

      Cheap Backpacker Chow



      Cereal Without A Bowl

      DIY MRE (home made storable pouch meals)

Original Introduction by Abbie Hoffman

It’s perhaps fitting that I write this introduction in jail- that graduate school of survival. Here you learn how to use toothpaste as glue, fashion a shiv out of a spoon and build intricate communication networks. Here too, you learn the only rehabilitation possible-hatred of oppression.

Steal This Book is, in a way, a manual of survival in the prison that is Amerika. It preaches jailbreak. It shows you where exactly how to place the dynamite that will destroy the walls. The first section-SURVIVE!-lays out a potential action program for our new Nation. The chapter headings spell out the demands for a free society. A community where the technology produces goods and services for whoever needs them, come who may. It calls on the Robin Hoods of Santa Barbara Forest to steal from the robber barons who own the castles of capitalism. It implies that the reader already is “ideologically set,” in that he understands corporate feudalism as the only robbery worthy of being called “crime,” for it is committed against the people as a whole. Whether the ways it describes to rip-off shit are legal or illegal is irrelevant. The dictionary of law is written by the bosses of order. Our moral dictionary says no heisting from each other. To steal from a brother or sister is evil. To not steal from the institutions that are the pillars of the Pig Empire is equally immoral.

Community within our Nation, chaos in theirs; that is the message of SURVIVE!

We cannot survive without learning to fight and that is the lesson in the second section. FIGHT! separates revolutionaries from outlaws. The purpose of part two is not to fuck the system, but destroy it. The weapons are carefully chosen. They are “home-made,” in that they are designed for use in our unique electronic jungle. Here the uptown reviewer will find ample proof of our “violent” nature. But again, the dictionary of law fails us. Murder in a uniform is heroic, in a costume it is a crime. False advertisements win awards, forgers end up in jail. Inflated prices guarantee large profits while shoplifters are punished. Politicians conspire to create police riots and the victims are convicted in the courts. Students are gunned down and then indicted by suburban grand juries as the trouble-makers. A modern, highly mechanized army travels 9,000 miles to commit genocide against a small nation of great vision and then accuses its people of aggression. Slumlords allow rats to maim children and then complain of violence in the streets. Everything is topsy-turvy. If we internalize the language and imagery of the pigs, we will forever be fucked. Let me illustrate the point. Amerika was built on the slaughter of a people. That is its history. For years we watched movie after movie that demonstrated the white man’s benevolence. Jimmy Stewart, the epitome of fairness, puts his arm around Cochise and tells how the Indians and the whites can live in peace if only both sides will be reasonable, responsible and rational (the three R’s imperialists always teach the “natives”). “You will find good grazing land on the other side of the mountain,” drawls the public relations man. “Take your people and go in peace.” Cochise as well as millions of youngsters in the balcony of learning, were being dealt off the bottom of the deck. The Indians should have offed Jimmy Stewart in every picture and we should have cheered ourselves hoarse. Until we understand the nature of institutional violence and how it manipulates values and mores to maintain the power of the few, we will forever be imprisoned in the caves of ignorance. When we conclude that bank robbers rather than bankers should be the trustees of the universities, then we begin to think clearly. When we see the Army Mathematics Research and Development Center and the Bank of Amerika as cesspools of violence, filling the minds of our young with hatred, turning one against another, then we begin to think revolutionary.

Be clever using section two; clever as a snake. Dig the spirit of the struggle. Don’t get hung up on a sacrifice trip. Revolution is not about suicide, it is about life. With your fingers probe the holiness of your body and see that it was meant to live. Your body is just one in a mass of cuddly humanity. Become an internationalist and learn to respect all life. Make war on machines, and in particular the sterile machines of corporate death and the robots that guard them. The duty of a revolutionary is to make love and that means staying alive and free. That doesn’t allow for cop-outs. Smoking dope and hanging up Che’s picture is no more a commitment than drinking milk and collecting postage stamps. A revolution in consciousness is an empty high without a revolution in the distribution of power. We are not interested in the greening of Amerika except for the grass that will cover its grave.

Section three — LIBERATE! — concerns itself with efforts to free stuff (or at least make it cheap) in four cities. Sort of a quick U.S. on no dollars a day. It begins to scratch the potential for a national effort in this area. Since we are a nation of gypsies, dope on how to move around and dig in anywhere is always needed. Together we can expand this section. It is far from complete, as is the entire project. Incomplete chapters on how to identify police agents, steal a car, run day-care centers, conduct your own trial, organize a G.I. coffee house, start a rock and roll band and make neat clothes, are scattered all over the floor of the cell. The book as it now stands was completed in the late summer of 1970. For three months manuscripts made the rounds of every major publisher. In all, over 30 rejections occurred before the decision to publish the book ourselves was made, or rather made for us. Perhaps no other book in modern times presented such a dilemma. Everyone agreed the book would be a commercial success. But even greed had its limits, and the IRS and FBI following the manuscript with their little jive rap had a telling effect. Thirty “yeses” become thirty “noes” after “thinking it over.” Liberals, who supposedly led the fight against censorship, talked of how the book “will end free speech.”

Finally the day we were bringing the proofs to the printer, Grove consented to act as distributor. To pull a total solo trip, including distribution, would have been neat, but such an effort would be doomed from the start. We had tried it before and blew it. In fact, if anyone is interested in 4,000 1969 Yippie calendars, they’ve got a deal. Even with a distributor joining the fight, the battle will only begin when the books come off the press. There is a saying that “Freedom of the press belongs to those who own one.” In past eras, this was probably the case, but now, high speed methods of typesetting, offset printing and a host of other developments have made substantial reductions in printing costs. Literally anyone is free to print their own works. In even the most repressive society imaginable, you can get away with some form of private publishing. Because Amerika allows this, does not make it the democracy Jefferson envisioned. Repressive tolerance is a real phenomenon. To talk of true freedom of the press, we must talk of the availability of the channels of communication that are designed to reach the entire population, or at least that segment of the population that might participate in such a dialogue. Freedom of the press belongs to those that own the distribution system. Perhaps that has always been the case, but in a mass society where nearly everyone is instantaneously plugged into a variety of national communications systems, wide-spread dissemination of the information is the crux of the matter. To make the claim that the right to print your own book means freedom of the press is to completely misunderstand the nature of a mass society. It is like making the claim that anyone with a pushcart can challenge Safeway supermarkets, or that any child can grow up to be president.

State legislators, librarians, PTA members, FBI agents, church-goers, and parents: a veritable legion of decency and order already is on the march. To get the book to you might be the biggest challenge we face. The next few months should prove really exciting.

Obviously such a project as Steal This Book could not have been carried out alone. Izak Haber shared the vision from the beginning. He did months of valuable research and contributed many of the survival techniques. Carole Ramer and Gus Reichbach of the New York Law Commune guided the book through its many stages. Anna Kaufman Moon did almost all the photographs. The cartoonists who have made contributions include Ski Williamson and Gilbert Sheldon. Tom Forcade, of the UPS, patiently did the editing. Bert Cohen of Concert Hall did the book’s graphic design. Amber and John Wilcox set the type. Anita Hoffman and Lynn Borman helped me rewrite a number of sections. There are others who participated in the testing of many of the techniques demonstrated in the following pages and for obvious reasons have to remain anonymous. There were perhaps over 50 brothers and sisters who played particularly vital roles in the grand conspiracy. Some of the many others are listed on the following page. We hope to keep the information up to date. If you have comments, law suits, suggestions or death threats, please send them to: Dear Abbie P.0. Box 213, Cooper Station, New York, NY 10003. Many of the tips might not work in your area, some might be obsolete by the time you get to try them out, and many addresses and phone numbers might be changed. If the reader becomes a participating researcher then we will have achieved our purpose.

Watch for a special edition called Steal This White House, complete with blueprints of underground passages, methods of jamming the communications network and a detailed map of the celebrated room where according to Tricia Nixon, “Daddy loves to listen to Mantovanni records, turn up the air conditioner full blast, sit by the fireplace, gaze out the window to the Washington Monument and meditate on those difficult problems that face all the peoples of this world.”

December, 1970
Cook County Jail



                    - A YIPPIE PROVERB

Aiding and Abetting

Who are you?

Dozens of Anonymous Contributors, Ploney the Expat, Unidyne, root (name unknown), J! of the Dumpstered, J.D. from South Carolina, Ryan Libberator, Zeerahks O’Connelley, Jacob the Mad, Jonathan M. Taylor, Bubbles, Sketchy, Jimmy McSqueeze, Jeffrey R Glenn, Jake Blohnson, Sean Hogan (firsty), Trevor Ruggles, El Almirante, Captain.telnet, Doctormatt, Moonmaiden 103, Michael Davis (manintweed), E.R. the gun nut, Jedite (Jedite83), vov35, Mill Creek “HIGH”, vannieplustwo, recursive, Sarah, Actafool, leftyblack, Cow, Greenl

Thanks To:

The EFF and TOR, Amnesty International, CBLDF, Scroogle, Linus Torvalds, Cory Doctorow’s bitchun society, Little Brother, and whuffie economy, Tim Berners-Lee for HTML and HTTP, Tom Jennings and FidoNet, Neal Stephenson for HEAP and the Future, Rick Prelinger and the Prelinger Archives, Internet nerds, free WiFi, full dumpsters, donated laptops and PDA’s, bicycles, people who stop for hitch-hikers, folks that feed street people, 3-D ‘printers’, AIM indigenous movement, old Black Panthers who won’t talk, veterans of the Back-To- The-Land movement, IWW then and now, Joe Hill, Eugene V. Debs, hardware hackers, Sheldon Brown, war dialers and drivers, rebba and tahnedem, those who voided the warranty, old Elmers, expats, bloggers, radio pirates, Jessica Sideways, The Magna Carta, Berry Cooper, Frank Zappa, “Don’t taze me, bro!”, homebrews, months in the wilderness, solar cells when they cut the power, getting fired, disappointed and proud parents, annoyed but loving partners, ADD kids, stupid mistakes (and learning from them), George Orwell and his books Animal Farm and 1984, duct tape, Bram Cohen and Bittorrent, Multimachine, no rent money, cool teachers, forever role models, pranksters (Cassady most of all), Ken Kesey, Brazilian satellite hackers, Judi Bari, Darryl Chemey, Woody Guthrie, Harpo from Brooklyn, Ti Jean, J.R. “Bob” Dobbs, Malaclypse the Younger & Lord Omar Khayyam Ravenhurst, the original Omar Khayyam, Sarah’s madre, lessons from blown off fingers, geeks and trolls, 300 Baud BBS’s, multi-tools, soldering irons, security screwdriver bit sets, Swiss Army knives, long bicycle tours without destinations, TRS-80, Amiga & Commodore 64/128, BASIC & COBOL, rooftop farmers, prohibition moonshiners, Seth Tobocman, Peter Kuper, Eric Drooker, Pete Seeger & the Weavers, Holly Near, Free Tre Arrow, Marilyn Buck, D.B. Cooper, web 2.0, the Internet Archive, feeders, Peace Corps projects, growing instead of buying, barbers, Robert Anton Wilson, Dr. Hunter S. Thompson, Usenet, performance-enhancing substances, flea markets, swap meets and garage sales, Guy Fawkes, Open Source, the Tank Man of Tiananmen Square, Michael Hoy, Claire Wolfe, most of the Dharma, neighbors and more, Noam Chomsky, Axis of Justice, the Coup, Phreakers, Rage Against the Machine, the Fugs and other leftist bands, those who got away with it and never told a soul, and especially Abbie for the first edition.

Original Aiding and Abetting

What follows is the original text

Tim Leary, Tom, Geronimo, Pearl Paperhanger, Sonny, Pat Solomon, Allan Katzman, Jacob Kohn, Nguyen Van Troi, Susan, Marty, Andy, Ami, Marshall Bloom, Viva, Ben, Oanh, Robin Palmer, Mom and Dad, Janie Fonda, Jerry, Denis, LNS, Bernadine Dohm, a wall in Harvard Square, Nancy, an anonymous stewardess, Shirley Wonderful, Roz, Gumbo, Janis, Jimi, Dylan Liberation Front, Jeannie, God Slick, John, David, Rusty, Barney, Richard, Denny, Ron Cobb, the entire Viet Cong, Sam Shephard, Ma Bell, Eric, David, Joe, Kim Agnew, the Partridge Family, Carol, Alan Ginsburg, Woman’s Lib, Julius Lester, Lenny Bruce, Hack, Billy, Paul, Willy, Colleen, Sid, Johnny Appleseed, the Rat, Craig, Che, Willie Sutton, Wanda, EVO, Jeff, Crazy Horse, Huey, Casey, Bobby, Alice, Mao, Rip, Ed, Bob, Gay Liberation Front, WPAX, Frank Dudock, Manny, Mungo, Lottie, Rosemary, Marshall, Rennie, Judy, Jennifer, Mr. Martin, Keith, Madame Binh, Mike, Eleanor, Dr. Spock, Afeni, Candice, the Tupamaros, Berkeley Tribe, Gilbert Sheldon, Stanley Kubrick, Sam, Anna, Skip Williamson, UPS, Andy Stapp, the Yippies, Richard Brautigan, Jano, Carlos Marighella, the Weathermen, Julius Jennings Hoffman, Quentin, the inmates of TIER A-l Cook County Jail, Houdini, 37, Rosa Luxemberg, the Kent 25, the Chicago 15, the New York 21, the Motor City 3, the Indianapolis 500, Jack, Joan, Malcolm X, Mayakovsky, Dotson, R. Crumb, Daniel Clyne, Justin, The FBI Top 10 (now 16), Unis, Dana, Jim Morrison, Brian, John, Gus, Ruth, Nancy Unger, Pun, Jomo, Peter, Mark Rudd, Billy Kunstler, Genie, Ken, the Law Commune, Paula, Robby, Terry, Dianna, Angela, Ted, Phil, Jefferson Airplane, Len, Tricky Prickers, the Berrigans, Stu, Rayanne, J.B., Jonathan Jackson, the Armstrong Brothers, Homer, Sharon, Fred Hampton, Jean Jacques Lebel, A. H. Maslow, Hanoi Rose, Sylvia, Fellini, Amaru, Ann Fettamen, Artaud, Bert, Merrill, Lynne, and last but not least to Spiro what’s his name who provided the incentive.

Table of Contents

These contents began as the original, but should be constantly revised to reflect new content.


  1. Security Culture

  2. Free Food

  3. Free Clothing

  4. Free Shelter

  5. Free Transportation

  6. Free Education

  7. Free Medical Care

  8. Free Communication

  9. Free Play

  10. Free Money

  11. Free Dope

  12. Assorted Freebies

  13. Get a Job


  1. Leadership

  2. Problem Solving

  3. Tell it all, Brothers and Sisters

  4. Computers

  5. Community Centers

  6. Demonstrations

  7. Trashing

  8. Hip Pocket Law

  9. Steal Now Pay Never

  10. Piece Now

  11. S.E.R.E.

  12. The Underground


Appendices and Tables

— Survive —

1. Security Culture

Security Culture is the most powerful tool to keep us in the fight. The pigs have their spies and they are ready to use them to defame, fracture, jail, and intimidate our movement — this is no bullshit. It doesn’t matter if you’re a church group bake sale volunteer or a militant environmental activist, if you’ve been spitting distance from an anti-war meeting, you’ve been spied on by your government. Keep all groups small and intimate, one is best although it might make you crazy; three is a the number to never exceed for actions; group together several threes for very big actions, but don’t use these groupings for actual civil disobedience. Try to form affinity groups with those you have known for many years. This disperses the threat and the effect of infiltration.

But you still need to be careful, even in large groups. Take this advice seriously — you’re not doing anybody any good if you’re locked up without having done anything.


Main points:

  • NEVER BRAG about past actions!

  • NEVER USE NAMES when planning an action!

  • Only discuss action with those who NEED TO KNOW!

  • After an action, NEVER DISCUSS it with OUTSIDERS!

  • NEVER ADMIT anything to the authorities, even for a deal when they claim others have ratted out! If you haven’t ratted them out yet, they probably haven’t ratted you out either.


  • NEVER LIE about being in on an action or your part in an action!

  • DON’T ASSUME that a friend of a friend is a friend!

  • Keep involved members to a VERY SMALL group!

  • ONLY work with a TRUSTED affinity GROUP!

  • ONLY ALLOW those who would NEVER rat out the group INTO a TRUSTED affinity GROUP!

  • ONLY DISCUSS action in OPEN AREAS with background noise!


  • If busted use your right to REMAIN SILENT!

  • If busted NEVER ARGUE or try to EXPLAIN yourself!

  • NEVER! NEVER! NEVER! RAT out another activist!


  • NEVER TRUST electronic ENCRYPTION or codes to keep your communication safe!

  • ALWAYS CHECK your wallet and gear for incriminating documents and maps

A big thanks to our friends at Why-War.com for using a copyright (http://www.why- war.com/support/copyrights.php) the same as ours. Parts of what follows started out as material on their site along with our contributions and edits.


  • 1 Electronic Communication

  • 2 Web Sites

  • 3 Identity

  • 4 Phones

  • 5 Documents

  • 6 Fear

  • 7 Names

  • 8 Appearance

  • 9 Masks

  • 10 Safe Sex

  • 11 Tough Love

  • 12 Unnecessary Criminal Activity

  • 13 Practice

  • 14 Tips

  • 15 Planning

  • 16 Security of Your Security Culture

  • 17 Conclusion

Electronic Communication

A little story: I worked with a direct action group in ****** known as *****. One member of ***** who was new and did not know the protocols of security culture sent out an e-mail that indirectly implicated specific members of the group in an action that had happened in the area. His e-mail resulted in four arrests. Two people went to jail for six months.

E-mail is never safe. Ever. Listservs especially sire monitored daily by local police departments and the FBI. If you’re planning a mass direct action event, you must use a spokescouncil meeting or other face-to-face organizing strategy. Never send specifics (date, time, or location) about a direct action over e-mail. Some e-mail is more secure. Hushmail provides encrypted e-mail service for its users that can be more secure than regular e-mail, and using an encryption program like PGP can greatly increase your security, but remember that Hushmail and any other email provider will give the private key and email contents to the cops with a just a phone call, no warrant needed, thanks to the (un)Patriot Act. Keep your private PGP encryption key block private and ready to securely delete and overwrite, not on any providers’ servers! Even with what you think is good, hard crypto, it’s never a good idea to talk about specifics over e-mail. Keep any discussion of direct action extremely vague, and never give the location and time. So you get up every day looking for your chance to make your voice heard. Where do you look? Why, Indymedia, infoshop and protest.net, of course! Well guess what? Someone else is reading those websites too.

Never trust any kind of encryption, nearly all codes have eventually been broken, they are only meant to slow down the opposing side!!

There is one kind of encryption that so far if perfectly executed is unbreakable. The trade off is that key exchanges and getting sufficiently random numbers are more involved. This type of encryption is known as a One-Time Pad http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One-time_pad. These can either be done with a ten sided dice shaken in a cup or a bingo number drum, a pencil and paper, or with a computer program http://www.scubaninja.eom/code/c/xor/ although computer generated pads are sometimes later found to not be truly random and can then be cracked, you or your computer program must also use a rotating mathematical algorithm that prevents letter frequency, word, and sentence pattern decoding attacks. The general idea with a OTP is that both the sender and the receiver have a set of “pads” filled with random data. Sending a message takes one “pad”, which is then destroyed. This is the big tradeoff with OTPs: obviously, the unused pads must be kept secret, just like any other encryption key, but the used pads have to be disposed of properly, too. (Burned if paper, securely deleted if electronic.) Make sure you know what you’re doing if you use this method. Secure deletion especially during a surprise raid is very difficult, hard disk platters are incredibly durable and take a long time to fully overwrite enough times, RAM memory chips which if quickly powered off and cooled may retain recoverable data for over an hour.

Web Sites

The State reads protest websites all the time. Why War’s website has received hits from most branches of the military. Stealthiswiki.org has been mentioned in the record of the California state assembly, so you bet the piggies are reading it. If you post specific details about a direct action on the Internet, you can expect there to be cops there when you show up. I believe that the best way to organize is to call a spokescouncil meeting and post the information on Indymedia. Always remember that everything you say on the Internet is there forever. Don’t make jokes. Even visually representing an attack on the president has cost one person a visit from the Secret Service.


Assume everyone is a cop. I am a cop. You are a cop. The only people you can assume are not cops are your mother (unless she is a cop) and your affinity group. If someone e-mails you saying they are from one group or another, they are a cop. (Not necessarily, in fact, probably not, but you need to treat them like they are.) Especially on the Internet, you can never assume anyone is who they claim they are. Nothing is less secure than the Internet, where anyone can read anything you say at any time. Still, after the passing of the Patriot Act, phones are not secure. Whistleblowers have exposed that communication companies have given the government direct links into our phone and data lines. They tapped our phones in Boston. The ACLU has its phones tapped. It’s not that rare. Using cell phones to communicate at an action seems like a really good idea, and it can be. But cell phones are easily monitored, and the special operations cops have the ability to monitor cell phones in a certain area. So don’t say, “Swarm the comer of 33rd and 5th!” Plan everything out ahead of time, and be able to say, “Are you coming?” or “Green team GO!” and have everyone know what that means. Body mods, drug use, and tattoos are by no means a sure sign of a person being on our side. Informants come in all shapes and sizes, and may be very convincing. Some are even trained by the military. (If you think that’s a load of paranoid bull, just have a look here (http://www.democracynow.org/2009/7/28/broadcast_exclusive_declassified_docs_reveal_military) •)

Another measure of caution to use is to agree on a confidential codeword or codewords to identify others of your group. If a riot is ensuing and some guy is shouting “Asparagus!”, other people might think he’s a nut. Your group, however, will know he’s one of yours.


For immediate actions, the phone can be fairly secure, if you can act before the police can react. However, unless you are using a payphone, this leaves your name implicated with whatever action you do. In general treat a payphone as if someone were listening. Never give specifics. There are ways to know if your phones are tapped, if you really want to know, but it’s best always just to assume that they are. Many payphones are tapped in accordance with the PATRIOT Act. The police also have the ability to listen to you through your phone even if you are not on the phone at that moment. They have to the technology to do this unless your phone is unplugged. This is why pre-pay cellphones are popular with the ignorant activist. Unfortunately they are incredibly easy to track — much more dangerous than a pay phone.


Every activist must remember that even if they do remain silent their vehicle, gear, and person will be searched for documents and clues to identity them as well as indicate connection to past or present illegal activity. Most people have a habit of making a filing cabinet of their wallet by keeping business cards of friends or businesses you frequent, at the least you cast suspicion on all of these people. Maps, trash, personal orgainser/phone number list books, matchbooks, business cards, campground or tourism directories, etc can all give away your plans, even more so the information in your mobile phone or SIM chip and laptop. Even unique equipment or clothing labels may give clues to the region of your origin, surely eliminate gear you have used on direct actions. A good plan is to leave behind your wallet and only take one piece of ID to events.


Perhaps the easiest (and most detrimental) time for security culture to break down is in the heat of a protest when the police begin their repression tactics. You see your friends being taken away by police and it is your first instinct to call out to them. Or perhaps the group you are marching with shatters and you feel the need to remind everyone of where your pre-planned re-convergence space is. It is at this point that your faith and trust in your friends is most severely tested; therefore, everyone should make the utmost effort to build these things beforehand.

Have a thorough briefing before an action (just like the Special Forces do!) Make sure everyone knows the plan cold. Work out any contingencies you can think of (remember Murphy’s Law), so that if they occur, everybody’s response is almost automatic. It’s much easier to deal with a situation if you’ve gone over it beforehand with a cool head. Also be prepared for things to not go according to plan — they rarely do — and trust your friends to do what is needed. That’s what it really comes down to.

There’s a great mantra for fighting fear that’s used in the book Dune. Maybe it will be of use to you as well:

I must not fear.

Fear is the mind-killer.

Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.

I will face my fear.

I will permit it to pass over me and through me.

And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.

Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.

Only I will remain.

As an aside: remember to walk, not run, at any group march, even in a serious retreat. Running can be the start of a stampede which can kill many activists.


Don’t use people’s names at a direct action protest. If you want, use special nicknames come up with aliases or something, but concealing your identity from the authorities is important. You might not think they are listening, but they are. Another story: at a peace rally in ****town, the local radical groups held a spokescouncil meeting at the beginning of the rally to decide when we were going to break away from the main march. In the middle of our meeting, we were surrounded by police who then walked with us the entire way.


Don’t look sketchy. If you’re having a spokescouncil meeting in a public place, take off your bandannas! Put away the red and black banners, steal a “Peace is Patriotic” sign from a nearby liberal, whatever. Increasingly, the cops are targeting radical groups for arrest and “special treatment” (i.e. police brutality) and, increasingly, what the cops consider to be a radical group is becoming less and less radical. Black flags and radical banners are all well and good, but keep them out of sight while you’re planning. Some of you might be saying, “Wait, take off our bandannas? That’s such a bad plan!” In some ways, you’re correct. As I said before, concealing your identity is important. The average American is photographed 300 times a day (every time you use an ATM, get gas, go into a convenience store, pay a toll, etc.). Protests are very well monitored by video and snapshots.


If you are engaging in autonomous civil disobedience (not a sit-in) and you don’t plan on being arrested (i.e. you want to get away with it) you should conceal your face using a bandanna, or other cloth. When combined with a hat (Simple is best) and some sunglasses, this getup makes you nearly impossible to identify via facial recognition. Wearing a bandanna can make you a target for police, since they associate it with radicals, so only wear one if you are actually doing something illegal and concealing your identity makes sense. Gas masks and ski masks certainly conceal your identity well, but they look extremely militant, and tend to both incite police violence and frighten other protesters. Unless you plan on directly and forcibly confronting the police, I would not recommend wearing a gas mask. (If you think that there will be teargas, you can always have a pair of swim goggles and a bandanna soaked in apple cider vinegar in your pocket.) Also remember that the foam in ski masks and ski goggles will trap teargas and other gasses, after a while this will expose your face to more teargas than wearing nothing at all. Swimming goggles are therefore more advisable.

Safe Sex

One of the most difficult areas of security culture exists between partners in a sexual relationship.

There is an implied special bond and dissolution of barriers between those who spend their naked time together. If potentially important information is not shared, there is often a feeling of betrayal. It is best from the beginning of a sexual or romantic relationship to let your significant other know there are or may develop activities you are involved in that you are unable to share. If they are really cool with the cause and secure in themselves they should understand, if not you have to choose. Drop them or drop out of direct action.

The problem with many relationships between activists (and ordinary people too) is that the relationship ends after a time, this sometimes gets ugly if hearts are broken. It is not an unreasonable concern that a jilted lover might even turn to the pigs or talk too openly to get revenge. This includes exposing Internet pen names, turning over cell phone history, or capitalizing on any other one of the number of different privacy fallacies we have about our lives.

Another consideration is the sellout for ransom, a person may choose to make a deal and narc out the whole organization when their lover is threatened with serious punishment where they might stand strong for themselves, the pigs are famous for this blackmail deal, done in a secret way where the significant other may never even find out.

Short term relationships or even one night stands can be very dangerous, there are those cops and civilian narc types who have a kink for playing the spy while having a little naked fun in the sack with their target. Never discuss any involvement of any kind beyond generic politics at all with a short term relationship especially if it looks like trading insider info will get you sex.

There is wisdom in the idea of our cells having a professional expectation of no romance between activists, this is often an unrealistic expectation, each group must decide what is acceptable.

And don’t forget to use a condom.

Tough Love

A danger that we don’t often expect and that usually hurts the worst is the loving friend, parent, or close relative intervention bust. A naive and police state propaganda addicted person who full of “tough love” for the unsuspecting victim hopes to rescue them from dangerous radicalism may destroy their life forever by calling the police in hopes that this bust will set them on the straight path. The interventionist truly thinks that by turning the youngster in instead of them getting caught the victim will only get a slap on the wrist to scare them straight, much like taking a five year old shoplifter back to the store, but this leaves our young radical with a criminal record or worse fighting for their lives in prison, even juvies under 18. These ‘helpful’ intervention sell outs are often for drag use or shoplifting not even for radical action where we are often more secretive but once they pigs have permission to dig...

Unnecessary Criminal Activity

Do not become involved in activities like shoplifting, reckless driving, or narcotics if you are an activist. Do not permit members of your affinity group to engage in these activities, either. It is already easy enough for the police to blackmail us. Most busts for “domestic terrorism” are the result of shoplifting or traffic stops. Once someone has been released and heavy charges dropped it might be wise to insulate them from serious direct action as they may have made a deal and are now working for the other side in exchange for their continuing freedom. It is important to realize that alcohol and many drugs make you much more likely to open your mouth and blab about your activities, think truth serum here.


Remember to practice security culture with your friends. This is the hardest aspect of security culture for many of us to perfect. You’ve just finished a successful and awesome direct action! Yay! The first thing you want to do is tell all your friends about it. Chances are, your friends won’t turn you into the cops. However, bragging/gossiping about direct action can be a chronic breach of security culture.


There are some things that you should NEVER talk about with people that you don’t know very, very well on a personal basis:

  • Your involvement or someone else’s in a specific illegal direct action. The only exception is if you have already been convicted of that action, or if you are outside the jurisdiction of where that action took place, or if, beyond any doubt whatsoever, the statute of limitations has passed, so that you cannot be prosecuted for the action or used as a witness.

  • Almost all the time, though, there are no exceptions. Don’t tell anyone anything, ever. Even if you cannot be found guilty, talking about your past actions implicates you and increases police observation directed in your and your colleagues’ direction. Even if you’re being investigated, every lead you release could be the one that ends up getting you screwed over.

  • Your involvement or someone else’s in an underground group (i.e. a group that has claimed actions for the Earth Liberation Front, etc.)

  • Someone else’s knowledge of an illegal direct action.

  • Specific plans for future direct actions. With a good security culture, everyone is on a need-to-know, don’t-ask-don’t-tell basis. The less you know about an action that you will not be involved in, the safer you and the people engaging in that action will be. Obviously you can discuss future actions with your affinity group, but do so in a safe place and manner.


When discussing plans for a radical direct action with your affinity group, do not discuss them in a place likely to be monitored (i.e the place you usually meet, an activist’s car, Unitarian churches, radical bookstores, etc.). Find someplace safe for your discussion. There are some things that we as humans tend to do that can be extremely risky for us as activists. Using activism as a social device can be detrimental to security culture. There are liars: people who claim to have engaged in illegal actions in order to impress others. This is not okay. Those people are putting themselves and the people they lie to in danger by breaking security culture in this way. Bragging to your friends, I can’t emphasize enough, is dangerous. One on one, in a safe location, it is okay to talk about less radical direct actions, but only talk about secure things with people who know about security culture and won’t go and gossip it to others. This brings us to gossiping. If you’ve heard anything about a direct action that you’re not involved in, don’t say anything about it to anyone. You will jeopardize your security and the security of those planning the action.

Security of Your Security Culture

Security culture is not a spy game or a joke. Pretending to have an overdeveloped sense of security culture in order to impress others is no different than bragging about an action. This is not “I could tell you but I’d have to kill you.” If someone asks you a question that you don’t want to answer, or if you think someone is talking about something that they shouldn’t be talking about, just change the subject.


Before I end we should also note that there are informants out there. They infiltrate activist groups, (and sometimes even activist affinity groups) and jeopardize (intentionally) everyone’s security. It can be hard to distinguish between new members of a group who want to learn about what’s going on and don’t know much about security culture and infiltrators who are trying to gather enough information to have you all arrested. If you think your group may have been infiltrated, check out the Security Survival Skills guide produced by the Collective Opposed to Police Brutality. It’s the most extensive guide to security culture that I’ve found on the web and it has a section that explains how to identify counterinsurgents within the ranks.

This is by no means a complete and definitive guide to security culture. Again I urge you to read the Security Survival Skills (http://www.why-war.com/files/2003/09/activist_security.html) guide produced by the Collective Opposed to Police Brutality.

Always remember this: Just because we’re non-violent doesn’t mean that the police don’t see us as a threat, or that they won’t pretend to see a threat if it suits them. It also doesn’t mean that we will not be charged with violent crimes if arrested. You can be charged for assault if you even brush against a police officer, for carrying a weapon if you have a pencil, and for reckless endangerment if you hang a banner on a building.

Maintaining a tight security culture is essential for creating a cohesive, safe, and effective movement based on the principals of trust and solidarity. This guide may seem harsh and paranoid, and you should always use reason. You’re probably not gonna get yourself in trouble by talking about some snake-march you participated in, but always be thinking, “Would I say this to a cop?”

2. Free Food

Cooking Basics





Food Programs


Farm It

See also Appendices and Tables for recipes!


  • 1 General Guide

  • 2 Blood and guts

  • 3 Dumpster Diving

  • 4 Day Old Bread Stores

  • 5 Free Drinks

  • 6 Hotel Grazing

  • 7 Fast Food Chains

  • 8 Convenience Stores

  • 9 Movie Theaters

  • 10 Cafes

  • 11 Hospital Cafes

  • 12 Free Milk

  • 13 Free Candy

  • 14 Free Meat and Cheese

  • 15 Grocery Stores

  • 16 Sikh Temples

  • 17 Free Food For Your Own Church

  • 18 Bird Bread

  • 19 Own a Pickup?

  • 20 External Links to Free Food Resources

General Guide

Until several days without food it’s difficult to really understand what hunger means. You get faint and weak, unable to concentrate, and your reactions will be slow. As you go longer, you feel an ache below your heart. You may fantasize about food and how to get some. You will feel cold in bad weather no matter the clothing or bedding you pile on, and weak and drained in hot weather.

Many will steal. Hours pass and it feels like your soul is being cut with knives. When you are starving, it is easy to hate fat, well dressed people in warm, air conditioned houses.

Let’s make this clear — Corporate government really does not care about who is eating properly, that is your problem. In a 2006 pamphlet distributed to its laid-off employees, Northwest Airlines once advised its newly impoverished former workers to strongly consider rifling through trash for suitable food! Wage slaves like nurse aides typically feed their residents three meals plus a snack a day while having a sneak to eat or only affording one meal a day. Even fast food, hotel, and restaurant jobs can have unreasonable meal plans. Your need to feed yourself is considered disgusting (and cuts into profits!)!

Yet Amerika is the most wasteful nation on Earth, consuming the most food per person in the world and throwing it away. Country club members graze daily on huge brunch buffets, only taking what they are in the mood for. Huge conventions throw away massive amounts of food in order to offer choices the upper middle class may or may not want. Even grocery stores throw away much edible food.

We may not have a right to food in America, but surviving is important! So how do we eat?

Blood and guts

Picky Americans throw away lots of good meat that everyone else considers to be delicacies. Things like hearts, kidneys, livers, stomachs and lungs can all be had for cheap, if not free, and are not only nutritious, but also delicious if prepared properly. Although some people eat them, it’s wise to avoid brains due to all the diseases they can carry.

This is especially noticeable in areas with lots of hunters. After they bag bambi, most hunters will only take the loins and some ground meat for their troubles, leaving lots of perfectly good meat available just for the asking.

Even blood (assuming it’s fresh, NEVER use old blood) can be turned into food. It can thicken soups, make sausages and can be even used in pancakes.

In the rest of the world, this is haute gourmet. So why not use it to make 5 star meals for growing revolutionaries?

Dumpster Diving

No discussion of free food would be complete without talking dumpster diving, but remember that you can score great bike parts, computers, weird electronics, clothes, toys, paperback books, etc. Anything you can get through the front door usually comes out the back door and into the dumpster at some point.

Look through a phone book or tour the neighborhood on your bike to see what grocery stores, restaurants, and food services are nearby and check their dumpsters when no one is outside. It may take a few days to learn when the trash pick-up day is and what time fresh food is dumped, so keep checking. Don’t ruin a good dumpster for everyone by throwing trash everywhere while rooting around. If you clean up the manager will have no reason to lock the dumpster, and the cops can’t charge you for littering.

Be aware that a “No Trespassing” sign or demands by an employee usually mean that you do not have permission to dive there, which may cause trouble with the cops. However, if you are never asked to leave and there is no obvious signage you should be fine. Most state trespassing laws will not charge or even arrest you for trespassing if you have not refused to leave after being asked, which can be substituted by a “No Trespassing”.

Rubber boots, work gloves, long trousers, and long sleeved shirts will help protect you from cuts in the dumpster if needed. Box cutters are useful for packaging, boxes, bags, and twine. Dumpsters are mostly safe, just really dirty. But don’t gamble with sharp metal or broken glass, wear tall rubber diving or leather boots.

LED headlamps will give you light to see what you are grabbing. Use a red filter when possible at night to prevent your flashlight from being visible at distance. Removable car seat covers, trash sacks, or sheets of newspaper will protect your car seat if you have gotten really gooped up. Clean plastic trash sacks are a good way to protect your finds while wading in the dumpster, transporting your haul home, and when containing messy boots or clothes. When biking, line your panniers or backpack with plastic shopping bags.

Don’t worry about getting sick until you start deciding what to eat. Always wash unpackaged produce; vinegar or diluted bleach soak for 30 minutes kills most bacteria to safe levels. If you come across any cans that are bulging at the top and/or bottom, leave them in the dumpster. They’re known in the trade as being “blown” and are unfit to eat and ripe with bacteria.

Compactors and garbage smashers are really good at crushing bones. Don’t disable compactors as that can get you in trouble with the police, and may not even disable the system. Most stores with compactors have fitted a metal collar to keep divers and raccoons out. We find that these are usually bent from careless truck drivers and desperate kids grabbing beer left by friends inside. You can usually grab for something you can see and reach, but you MUST use a grabber or you risk trapping your arm. We don’t like compactor amputations.

You can purchase a “universal skip key,” which will open many (if not most) dumpsters. Bumping a lock or picking it can also work.

Day Old Bread Stores

Ask for bread a bakery is going to throw away. Tell them it’s for your pig. Most times they will squash it down in a buggy but squashed bread is still tasty. Remember to check for mold and pinch it off, but a spot of mold will not hurt you.

Many deli chains and sub stores have a “bread bin” with perfectly edible, scrap bread to be thrown away. It’s sanitary, and if the employee is cool, they may give you some for free. Just remember that for many employees it is still cool to disrespect the homeless.

Free Drinks

Get your hands on a plastic cup from a gas station or fast-food restaurant. Swipe ‘em from tables, ask for a cup of water, or surreptitiously peruse the trash bin. This guarantees you free drinks there for as long as you have the cup. If you’re worried about germs, when you fill up your stolen cup, “accidentally” drop the cup, and ask for another one. Don’t forget to clean up the mess.

Some restaurants will issue “courtesy” cups for non-customers asking for water. If a restaurant has drink fountains out in the open, as most fast food joints do, these can easily be filled with the beverage of your choice. Even if the minimum wage employees see you, it’s unlikely that they’d go out of their way to stop you.

Fortunately the mono culture consumerism ensures that restaurant that lack branded cups will have have selected theirs from a small collection. Save your cups nested inside each other; often you can “select” a matching cup from your bag without suspiciously digging through the trash. You might think you are being sly, but reaching into the trash is one of those faux pas that store clerks catch from across the restaurant every time.

Hotel Grazing

Do not forget the wondrous resource that is your local hotel. Many hotels offer complimentary breakfasts, a fact which you can use to your advantage.

First, look at what hotels offer what. A small Super 8 or Motel 6 may not have much more than pastries and coffee. Mid-scale hotels like Hampton Inns offer a very generous free spread and a couple of free hot items. Higher end hotels and some independent establishments may not offer any free breakfast at all. The best ones to hit are business-styled suite hotels, which offer free hot breakfasts and often free dinner, snacks, and sometimes beer during the evenings. Since they are designed for the long-term traveling business man, looking respectable can guarantee you weeks of free grub!

You should (of course) make sure that they don’t check that you have a reservation or a room key. Dont worry, most don’t. Most hotels work on a shift schedule (7–3, 3–11, 11–7) so going in during shift changes almost guarantee complete distraction by employees at the front desk.

Once that’s established you may want to dress nicely to make sure that you can enjoy a hearty breakfast. You should at least have a backpack/messenger bag with an extra shirt in it. Walk into the hotel early in the morning, looking like you’re coming in from a long night on the town. Head towards your “room” and find the laundry, exercise, or any room that has both water and privacy.

Change into the fresh shirt, wet your hair and wash your face — make it look like you had a quick shower and changed your clothes. Stash the bag where you can retrieve it later or risk it and take the bag to breakfast with you Now wander on down, eat your fill. You shouldn’t hang around more than a couple minutes once you’ve finished, but don’t look overly rushed.

One thing you may notice (especially if you’re a “repeat customer”) is that a manager will make their rounds chatting with the breakfast diners. Don’t be alarmed...they won’t notice a thing with a halfway decent alibi.

Fast Food Chains

On a busy Friday or Saturday night, find the closest chain to the bar district in your town. After last call stand in the food line for about 15 minutes then approach a clerk. Often in the busy after hours crowd they wont notice you approach from outside, and the cleaning staff almost never get a chance to tell the kitchen staff of your scam. Tell them you’ve been waiting in line for any item off the menu for half an hour, and they will serve you right away!

Convenience Stores

Clerks get really bored at the dead hours or when they have to stock the shelves and they are often happy to let you lift in exchange for some company. If you make friends with the staff they’ll often let you chew on their hyperinflated shelves and encased junk food. Don’t insult them by being too open with your sticky fingers, let them turn their back, stock some shelves, or go in back, before you start filling your pack, give them some plausible deniablity in case you somehow get caught.

Sometimes loss prevention and the manager actually view the cameras, but this is normally only after a robbery, sometimes you’ll meet an employee who is forever afraid of losing their job. Avoid the paranoid high strung type employee they probably wont even converse with you as it is against the company policy. Our best results are with the angry, burned out, or apathetic clerk.

Convenience stores have surprisingly useful services like western union money-grams, rolling papers, prepaid credit cards, prepaid cell phones, etc. The convenience store recognizes the needs of the underground economy of drug dealers and undocumented illegal aliens, and cater to their privacy needs in a way that rakes in huge profits.

Movie Theaters

Wait outside a movie theater on a Friday night and ask people leaving for a ticket stub to get in. Walk into a theater that is just letting out, or peek into the garbage cans and grab the largest bucket of popcorn and the largest cup. Most theaters provide free refills on popcorn and soft drinks, so dump out the contents and proceed to the food vendor. This works particularly well at the new megaplexes.

If you know anyone employed at the movie theater, ask them to get you a big bag of the gallons and gallons of popcorn that theaters throw away every night, especially on weekends. These can also be obtained from the dumpster after hours, but then it will most likely be mixed with popcorn that was swept off of the floor. Once again, this works particularly well at the megaplexes.

Many theaters have back side exits for safety reasons. Take a peek inside and if you see anyone other than an employee (they’ll have name tag), knock and kindly gesture to be let in. Pat them on the back, say something along the lines of “thanks buddy”, and then just pick a movie. Make sure there are a lot of other people seeing the film you choose. Occasionally (at some cinemas) audience members will be counted and compared to number tickets sold—if the numbers don’t match up, customers will be asked to show their tickets. Nobody wants to interrupt the movie for a hundred people just to catch one or two freeloaders, assuming they did not miscount.


Most Coffee shops give away their remaining pastries at the end of the day due to their sales policies to refresh the stock each morning. In addition, most coffee chain baristas are cool, and will give as many free samples of different drinks and snacks as you want. Many chains have a very liberal customer service policy so make a fuss if they won’t give you a sample. You may be able to walk out with a free drink or gift certificate.

Hospital Cafes

In addition, cafes inside hospitals provide a diverse menu, particularly focused on grab-and-go, and can be excellent locations to get lost in the lunch rush, and forget to pay on your way out. A busy worker bee mentality will help you in your appearance.

Free Milk

Many places that serve coffee also serve liquid cream packets. These are often provided freely, where the public can take as many as they want. They range between coffee cream and whole milk and if you a proportionate mixture in an 8 oz. glass of water you can easily make an approximate 2%, the same as sold at a supermarket. It won’t really taste like supermarket milk however, because it has been added to water rather than having milk fat removed.

Free Candy

Super glue or tape a coin down to a rotating coin feeder and spin it as many times as you like for whatever is in the dispenser, be inconspicuous because in the unlikely event that you’re caught this can be considered both vandalism and theft. It may not be nutrition, but we like free sweets too.

Find a grocery or department store that has the bulk candy/coffee bean racks and grab a handful of them. Walk around like your shopping and you will almost never be stopped for this. Since the candy has no intrinsic value as it is not priced unless it is weighed you will not be charged with shoplifting. Otherwise, nearly every parent you see in the supermarket would have a charge on behalf of their kids’ sticky fingers.

The above trick is not limited to candy though. Trail mixes, dehydrated fruits, cookies, etc. Anything measured in bulk is difficult to prove as a theft and security will almost never bother you for it. If you are stopped you may be asked to leave the store, so leave.

Free Meat and Cheese

Many grocery stores will give away free samples of the meats and cheeses sold in the deli. Dress appropriately, fill a basket with products, and then ask the deli hand to taste a meat or cheese that interests you. They’ll usually cut a slice or two for you to nibble.

Fool them into believing you’re a customer and you can usually ask to try yet another meat or cheese. Repeat this as long as they’ll allow and make up any excuse to not purchase anything. Take your samples and make a soup, sandwich or other quick dish with.

Don’t hit the same deli day after day or they’ll get smart to your scam. Have a grocery store for each day of the week and rotate them weekly. Obviously more grocery stores in your neighborhood makes this a lot easier. By changing the order from week to week and the time of day you should keep most staff from catching on to what you’re doing, and keep yourself in a consistent supply of deli samples.

Don’t worry, unless you throw the poor wiener sample lady into a freezer case and steal her tray, nobody cares if you raid a few times. These people get bored like everyone else, and chatting or flirting will help you fill your belly.

Grocery Stores

Your local supermarket deli, produce section, and bakery may sometimes have a free sample any day of the week. They, most likely, will gladly give it to you, this is often corporate policy. Wearing crappy, tom, homemade clothes made from rags will sometimes buy you another piece or a bigger sample to start with out of sympathy but will more likely get you nothing more than thrown out on your ass.

If dressed and acting casual, asking the deli counter for a sandwich, salad, etc in most grocery stores will give you a free meal — as long as you eat it in the store. Just make sure not to take the packaging with you.

Sikh Temples

The Sikh religion believes in charity that will benefit the neighborhood and culture they live in. As a result, most temples offer a free meal to the community at least once a week, if not every day. Their cooking is mostly starches and curry, and they often offer second or third portions with enthusiasm. A bean or lentil curry will give you needed protein, the starches will keep you feeling full for the day!

Free Food For Your Own Church

Join the Universal life Church, a free and legally recognized Church. Once joined, you will be a legally ordained minister. Then ask for donations to your food bank.

This might require talking to some managers but if you find one that has a cross on, it just might work, because they’re usually the holy types that will help. It doesn’t hurt to have a few business cards printed up stating that you’re the minister of the universal life church. A shirt and tie also helps this undertaking, but if you really want to do it up, bring a black long sleeve shirt, a minister’s collar, a cheap cross necklace, and ULC membership card. This getup costs around $50, but can scam thousands of dollars worth of retail.

Please have a conscience about this. You can easily hoard way more food and clothing than you’d ever need this way, so help out your less fortunate sisters and brothers. Keep a month’s worth of groceries and give the rest out to the less fortunate. Not only does this help others, but it no longer makes this a scam, as you are genuinely starting a food program for the poor.

A bible verse which may help you, and should be memorized, is this; “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’” — Matthew 25:34–40. If you memorize this and talk about the “social gospel of Christ” and “the Sermon on the Mount” you can sway even hardcore Bible beaters into giving up loads of perfectly good stuff.

You might consider contacting the Mormons RELIEF SOCIETY groups. These people function as the welfare for Mormons and give their members free food. Contact them to see where and how in your area they are getting food for their food banks. Then tell them that you also are trying to start a food bank for your church. While they might try to convince you to join them a little bit, they are usually more than helpful because they will see you as someone who is trying to carry out charitable work.

Bird Bread

Most jurisdictions don’t allow stores to sell items for human consumption after their sell by date, but they can sell them for other purposes. Its not uncommon for bakery thrifts to sell “bird bread”. This is simply smooshed up bread one day after its sell by date. Use it in meat loaf. We also show how to make cheese from just expired milk to put on a handmade pizza in Cheap Chow.

Own a Pickup?

Make up a convincing-looking pamphlet IN COLOR at your local copy store or off your computer. It should say “Cans for Homeless Mothers” or some such, followed by various heart wrenching facts about how a can of food can feed someone for a day, etc. (Copy some text from a charity website if you are unsure.) Now, armed with your pamphlet and your pickup truck, go to your city’s neighborhoods. For some reason, poorer neighborhoods are best, especially trailer parks. (Sorry, it’s sad but true.) Now, go up to the door, show your pamphlet, and say “Can you spare a can or two of food for those in need?” Tell them you do not accept money, this is important! It builds trust, and they will give you more cans. Bring grocery bags. After a day of this, your pick-up will be filled with canned goods.

External Links to Free Food Resources

These are proposed solutions that will work in today’s world.


Cooking Basics

Hey McKids! Have you been raised all your life thinking that food comes from the drive through window? Do you grocery shop in the campus bookstore and 7-Eleven? Is your idea of home made food baking a cake from a box? Have you or your family just been dumped onto the street with no cash, or did you run out of cash on a trip across the country? No problem! This section will teach you tips on how to cook food for yourself, your family, your commune, your protest team, or your whole neighborhood with what is available. Also included are tips on getting ingredients or precooked foods, as well as tips on living independently of the prepackaged, super-processed existence that is the Amerikan food market. To make them easier to find Cheap Chow and Roadside Chow are in the appendix at the end of the book, these appendixes are not so much a recipe book than a diverse collection of low impact low cost lessons on preparing different easy to acquire foods.


  • 1 A Few Helpful Hints on Cooking

  • 2 Measurement Conversion Tables

  • 3 Planning Meals

  • 4 Waste Not

  • 5 Protein

  • 6 Flavors and Spices

  • 7 Pressure Cooking

  • 8 Solar Cooking

  • 8.1 Basic Solar Cooker

  • 9 Using Old Cookbooks

  • 10 External Links

A Few Helpful Hints on Cooking

Keep any loose clothing away from open flames, wash everything (especially your hands) that comes in contact with the food, always wash your hands after touching raw meats and eggs while cooking, use oven mitts, be careful how you handle anything sharp, keep a fire extinguisher handy, and remember that “Baking Powder” and “Baking Soda” are two completely different things (as are “Cream of Tartar” and “Tartar Sauce”).

Grease and oil fires cannot be put out with water (It will actually make them worse by spreading the grease or oil over the surface of the water). If you don’t have access to a fire extinguisher, be sure to keep a decent supply of baking soda or sand on hand whenever you cook, to control these fires. If need be you can also put them out by cutting off their oxygen supply, such as placing a lid on the pan. Always be careful of your appliances. Regularly check for gas leaks, holes, stripped cords, or other hazardous malfunctions. You may also want to see Cheap Chow and Low Impact Crashing for tips on living on your own and Farm It for tips on growing your own produce.

For consistency purposes, when reading the following recipes:

  • tbs represents tablespoon(s)

  • tsp represents teaspoon(s)

  • qt represents quart(s)

  • gal represents gallon(s)

  • lbs. represents pounds

  • oz represents ounce(s)

  • c represents cup(s)

  • C represents temperature in Celsius

  • F represents temperature in Fahrenheit

Measurement Conversion Tables

Cup (c) Fluid Ounce (oz) Tablespoons (tbs) Teaspoons (tsp) Milliliters (ml)
1 c 8 oz 16 tbs 48 tsp 237 ml
3/4 c 6 oz 12 tbs 36 tsp 177 ml
2/3 c 5 1/3 oz 10 tbs + 2 tsp 32 tsp 158 ml
1/2 c 4 oz 8 tbs 24 tsp 118 ml
1/3 c 2 2/3 oz 5 tbs + 1 tsp 16 tsp 79 ml
1/4 c 2 oz 4 tbs 12 tsp 59 ml
1/8 c 1 oz 2 tbs 6 tsp 30 ml
1/16 c 0.5 oz 1 tbs 3 tsp 15 ml
USA Standard Multiplied by = Metric
Fluid Ounce (fl oz) 29.75 Milliliter (mL)
Gallon (gal) 3.785 Liter (L)
Ounce (oz) 28.35 Gram (g)
Pound (lb) 4.54 Kilogram (kg)
Metric Multiplied by = USA Standard
Milliliter (mL) 0.043 Fluid Ounce (fl oz)
Liter (L) 0.264 Gallon (gal)
Gram (g) 0.035 Ounce (oz)
Kilogram (kg) 2.202 Pound (lb) Approximate Measurements (Used casually)
  • “Tad” = 1/4 tsp

  • “Dash” = 1/8 tsp

  • “Pinch” = 1/16th tsp

  • “Smidgin” = l/32nd tsp

Temperature Conversions
  • Fahrenheit — 32 + 1.8 = Celsius

  • Celsius x 1.8 + 32 = Fahrenheit

For times when you are moving around or on the road learn how to pinch out a teaspoon and tablespoon from your ingredients, it is not hard to learn just start by first pouring the measured dry ingredients into your hand when cooking so you get the feel for that volume liquids you just need to learn how much to pour to get the right amount. Mark your cup with measurements to use in cooking, get an idea of what one cup looks like, many small cheap disposable or kids cups are 8–9 ounces and might even be marked as such on the bottom.

Planning Meals

If you will be feeding a group it is useful to know some ways to get your crew to fill up on the cheap stuff so you can save on the expensive stuff. If possible start your meals with bread and simple soup, then let everyone fill up on the cheap starch like potato, rice, or easy steamed vegetables, finally serve the more expensive protein and fats. Many dishes can be served on a bed of rice which will absorb the gravy or drippings and prevent the waste. Make an attempt to serve meals that combine dark leafy vegetables, citrus fruits, healthy fats, and protein as well as meeting daily minimum calories for the work being done but not so far over that your group gets that All-American fatbody look. The kitchen is an egalitarian place and everyone is expected to take their turn, so if you are not cooking you should be cleaning up.

Waste Not

While dumpster diving can yield good stuff to eat even a trip into your fridge full of expired or soured foods can supply you with ingredients many people would throw out to help you stretch til your next paycheck or properly stored for tight times. Plenty more ideas in the appendixes Cheap Chow and Roadside Chow.

  • Sour milk actually lasts pretty long once it glops up, use it in recipes that call for buttermilk, it is also a rising agent when used with baking soda(sodium bicarbonate) so in a way better to bake with than fresh milk

  • Sour juice is just fermenting, you can keep it around with a loose cap for prison hooch but it can be subbed in for water when baking a cake adding flavor.

  • moldy solid foods, don’t eat unknown mold, cheeses and vegetables can be trimmed or scraped of mold or soft spots often saving the majority.

  • Discolored meat, not a problem, even if it takes on a nasty smell washing and either long boiling or roasting it will make it safe to attempt to eat killing bacteria and toxins.

  • Smelly fish can sometimes be washed with vinegar, again boiling in a soup for 30 min will sterilize any food

  • Stale cereal, bread, cake, and snacks can often be put into a oven on low to bake dry to return crispness, cake and bread can be toasted for a snack or use in recipes.

  • Most random vegetables and meats can be chopped and combined in a stir fry, if they are limp or flavorless just add garlic, soy sauce, honey, pepper, or sugar to spice it up a bit.

  • For some people pressure canning leftovers in glass jars is less expensive than running or acquiring a refrigerator and leads to a far longer shelflife for food that just needs to be heated for a quick meal.

  • Many leftovers can be boiling water bath canned without a pressure cooker using canning jars and a pot of boiling water by vinegar or salt brine canning, consult a recent canning recipe book.


Instant potatoes, com, and instant rice might fill us up and give us starch to bum as energy, you might skip a few days but your body needs protein to survive and be effective, here is a quick way to estimate your minimum daily protein requirement, either multiply your weight in kilograms by .8, or weight in pounds by .37, so a person who weighs 100 lbs needs 37 of protein per day, one who weighsl50 lbs. should eat 55 grams, and a 200-pound person should get 74 grams. Below is a table of foods to help you calculate your minimum protein intake.

  • Tuna, 6 oz can — 40 grams of protein

  • Tofu, 14 cup 20 grams protein

  • Tofu, 1 oz, 2.3 grams

  • Soy milk, 1 cup -6-10 grams

  • Most beans (black, pinto, lentils, etc) about 7–10 grams protein per half cup of cooked beans

  • Soy beans, 14 cup cooked — 14 grams protein

  • Split peas, !4 cup cooked — 8 grams

  • Peanut butter, 2 Tablespoons — 8 grams protein

  • Almonds, % cup — 8 grams

  • Peanuts, % cup — 9 grams

  • Cashews, !4 cup — 5 grams

  • Pecans, !4 cup — 2.5 grams

  • Sunflower seeds, % cup — 6 grams

  • Pumpkin seeds, % cup — 19 grams

  • Flax seeds — % cup — 8 grams

  • Egg, large — 6 grams protein

  • Milk, 1 cup — 8 grams

  • Cottage cheese, 14 cup -15 grams

  • Yogurt, 1 cup — usually 8–12 grams, check label

  • Soft cheeses (Mozzarella, Brie, Camembert) — 6 grams per oz

  • Medium cheeses (Cheddar, Swiss) — 7 or 8 grams per oz

  • Hard cheeses (Parmesan) — 10 grams per oz

  • Ground pork 100%(check for fillers), 1 oz raw — 5 grams; 3 oz cooked — 22 grams

  • Bacon, 1 slice — 3 grams

  • Ham, 3 oz serving — 19 grams

  • Most cuts of 100% beef(hamburger may contain filler) — 7 grams of protein per ounce

  • Chicken meat, cooked, 4 oz — 35 grams

  • Most fish fillets or steaks are about 22 grams of protein for 3 14 oz (100 grams) of cooked fish, or 6 grams per ounce

Flavors and Spices

Since most quality spices and flavors tend to be expensive when purchased it is useful to learn how to evaluate available flavor enhancers and improvise. Firstly learn what spices grow naturally around your location, you can have several kilograms of free spices hanging around drying in your place. Learn to use leftovers like citrus peels in your cooking. Sometimes you will be presented with a new herb or spice, a sniff and taste test may be useful for integrating that missing link into your recipes. Often candies and processed foods have useful natural and artificial flavors that can be used either whole, crushed, or dissolved in boiling water although allergy problems may result from the artificial flavors or colors. Chocolate and nuts can be found im many forms but can be chunked or ground to use as a flavoring. Absent chocolate powder freeze dried coffee or even a cup of strong coffee can add color and flavor to your recipe.

Pressure Cooking

Consider acquiring a quality pressure cooker, if you can find a 15 psi model it will cut your cooking time for beans and meats to 1/4 the time making a hour of boiling in an open pot only take 15 minutes. Look at department stores and at Hispanic or India food shops, don’t bother with the old steam bombs made from the 50’s through the 70’s. It is pretty cool when you can do lentils and rice in about 15 minutes, or a pot roast that tastes like it ran overnight in around an hour even with the cheapest meat. The real bonus is the fuel savings if you have had your electricity and gas turned off and you are using a camp stove. Just be sure that there is always some liquid at the bottom of the cooker to start with or you wont be able to build pressure and might scorch your food.

Solar Cooking

Cooking food with the sun can be one of the cheapest ways to cook a meal, other than by making fire by rubbing two sticks together. If you have the free time, you can make a decent meal once you have your solar oven set up.

Basic Solar Cooker

Don’t fall for expensive solar cookers; There’s little that they can do that a cheap homemade solar cooker can’t. At least nothing that would make them worth $100+. An effective solar cooker can be made out of a car windshield reflector for less than $15. If you can’t even afford that, you can cut/collapse a cardboard box and tape or paste aluminum foil to it. The advantage to the windshield reflector is that it is collapsible and more durable. If you’re into long hikes in unknown territory, having a windshield reflector solar cooker may be a good way to conserve fuel, but unless you have a few weeks of experience and very hot and clear weather you will be eating cold or spoiled food.

The only other part you’ll need for your solar cooker will be some kind of oven/microwave resistant bag or container for the food.

It’s entirely possible to cook a whole chicken in a few hours using a solar cooker if there is enough sunlight. Place the windshield reflector in a way that is parabolic in nature(sunlight should enter and reflect inward onto the food). Fill your container with your chicken, and whatever seasonings you choose, and place it in the middle of your solar cooker. Then just aim it towards the sun. You will probably have to adjust the direction your cooker is facing due to the changing position of the sun in the sky. After 3 to 4 hours, with the right conditions, you will have a fully- cooked chicken ready to eat.

The possibilities with a solar cooker are seemingly endless. If the only fowl you have access to are wild birds and park ducks, a solar cooker will work perfectly to cook your lunch or dinner while you’re trying to catch more food. Should also work well with fish.

While you will not get to boiling temperatures, the temperature created by a solar cooker should be sufficient for killing germs. If you can, obtain a thermometer and use it to make sure the food temperature reaches around 165 F or finish up by cooking to a boil over a fire.

Using Old Cookbooks

When looking for something out of the ordinary to make for a meal, you may come across a few older cookbooks. A number were written during the Great Depression using simple ingredients (such as “Aunt Sammy’s Radio

Recipes” produced by the US Department of Agriculture). Some written during World War 2 may feature a number of meatless recipes since civilian sales of many foods were rationed so the Armed Forces could be fed. You may have to cut back on some of the fatty ingredients since such things as “cholesterol” and “trans fats” were not as widely known as they are today. Many of the older cookbooks were written back in the days before microwave ovens, and some terms may seem unfamiliar to folks today. Here are a few that you may come across.

  • Double Boiler: This is a two-tiered saucepan that is used to melt things like cheese and chocolate. It uses the heat from boiling water in the bottom to melt the item in the top pan, since direct heat from the flames can bum it. If a recipe says to mix something “over boiling water”, this is what they mean. These are still being made, but you may have to buy yours at a specialty cooking store. You can also make your own by placing a pan over another pan, but be careful that they fit properly so that they won’t slip or bum you from the steam.

  • Double Cream: An old term for Heavy Cream.

  • Hard-Wheat and Soft-Wheat Flours: Hard-Wheat flour was used for yeast breads and Soft-Wheat was used for pastries, cakes and quick-breads. Just use All-Purpose or Whole Wheat flour.

  • Nutmeats: These are nuts (often walnuts or almonds) chopped into little pieces. (Note: Peanuts aren’t nuts; they’re legumes, a kind of bean.)

  • Rich Milk: Back in the day when almost all milk delivered by the milkman was Certified (that is, nonhomogenized), the cream in the milk would rise and collect in the neck of the bottle. This was called “Rich Milk”, “Top Milk” or “Top of Milk” and was used in a number of recipes. You can substitute Light Cream for this.

  • Scalded Milk: You’re to bring the milk almost to a boil (using a Double Boiler). This often helps the cooking process in some recipes.

  • Single Cream: An old term for Light Cream.

  • Skim (or Skimmed) Milk: Another term for “Fat Free” Milk.

  • Soda: Not a soft drink, but Baking Soda, also known as Sodium Bicarbonate or Bicarbonate of Soda.

  • Top Milk (or Top of Milk): See “Rich Milk”.

  • Yeast Cake: This is a small 0.6 ounce block of active yeast (about a tablespoon) that is used in baking. It is rarely seen in supermarkets anymore, since it is highly perishable and doesn’t transport very well. Substitute it with 2 1/4 teaspoons of Active Dry Yeast (what you’ll find in those yeast packets in the store). If the recipe calls for a 2 ounce yeast cake, use three packets or 6 3/4 teaspoons of Active Dry Yeast.

  • A Note About Pasta: Some cookbooks from back in the 1930’s mention cooking pasta for as much as 20 minutes. This was when pasta was made with much denser dough than today. Ignore the time suggestion and just boil until tender unless you are using our home made pasta recipe. If the pasta is to be used in a casserole, undercook it, since it will continue to cook when it’s in the oven.

External Links

Budget 101: Make Your Own Mixes and Convenience Foods — http://www.budgetl01.com/frugal/mix-recipes-166/

The Cook’s Thesaurus: http://www.foodsubs.com/ ”(A) cooking encyclopedia that covers thousands of ingredients and kitchen tools. Entries include pictures, descriptions, synonyms, pronunciations, and suggested substitutions.”

Fankhauser’s Cheese Page — http://biology.clc.uc.edu/Fankhauser/Cheese/cheese.html College level cheese making with some easy Italian recipes.

Great Depression Cooking with Clara — http://www.greatdepressioncooking.com YouTube videos of recipes from hard times, demonstrated by a woman who lived through those years.

Instructables: Home Made Bread without Breadmaker — http://www.instructables.com/id/EF95ZHYF3435TlQ/

Instructables: Solar Powered Parabolic Cooker — http://www.instructables.com/id/ESNVFBHF48U7G77/ An Instructable on zero-impact cooking.

Open Cola — http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OpenCola_%28drink%29 The only home made cola released under the GNU General Public License!

Recipe Goldmine — http://www.recipegoldmine.com/ “Better Than A Thousand Cookbooks!”

RecipeSource — http://www.recipesource.com/ “Your Source for Recipes on the Internet”

Wikibooks: Cookbooks — http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Cookbook Recipes from Wikimedia


When we talk about hunting, we are not talking about sport hunting. Nor or we talking about expensive “beer” camps for the rich and bored to escape their nagging trophy wives. We are talking about poaching, butchering, and cooking an animal with good meat to feed ourselves. We could care less about a bear rug, antlers over the fireplace, or other things. Never forget that by hunting you have removed a living, breathing creature from the flow of life. Whether it’s a beetle or a buck, it has the same spirit and not to utilize the whole animal would be a waste. Give thanks and appreciate that a living being gave up its life for you.

See also Piece Now


  • 1 What You need

  • 1.1 Firearm Observations

  • 2 Spotlighting Deer

  • 3 Roadkill

  • 4 Urban Pigeon

  • 5 Gutting and preparing meat

  • 5.1 Birds

  • 5.2 Furred animals

  • 5.3 Snake

  • 5.4 Gutting

What You need

First, you are going to need some sort of weapon or trap. Bambi the deer and Thumper the rabbit are not exactly going to walk up to you and let you eat them. This means you are going to need a gun. If you have a felony or are opposed to firearms due to some moral code, you can still hunt with composite bows and crossbows (although bows take far more skill and practice). Piece Now has more information on firearms as gun self defense and hunting have many topics that overlap.

Firearms are good for the occasional target of opportunity but in terms of bringing home the meat traps and snares are far more effective. Browsing a military survival manual will show several humane and inhumane traps, you will have to decide the level of your hunger to balance it against the cruelty level of your traps, you must plan how to deal with a wounded or trapped live animal that will not get you injured or killed. Walk all trap lines as frequently as possible especially if you are using traps which could wound animals, laziness is cruelty when using traps.

There is a limited capacity renewal capacity in every ecosystem, it is quite possible to hunt out an area to the point where there are no food animals left, this can be expected especially if it has become common for the local population to hunt to provide sustenance food.

If you do not know how to shoot or have never hunted before, it is strongly recommended to practice or get training first before depending on this to put meat on the table. Air rifles and BB guns are excellent to get a feel for things then move up to a .22. It is also highly recommended you accompany successful, seasoned hunters many times to learn the tricks of the trade that really can not be taught in a book or magazine article.

Second, you are probably going to look into a hunting or fishing license to avoid oppression from Smokey the Pig. These are issued by each state. Usually, they are pretty cheap ranging from around 10 USD to 30 USD. If you are an American Indian, many states will let you forgo needing a license if you carry an ID identifying your race as such or have tribal membership papers. Some states will not issue licenses or revoke licenses to those that owe back child support or have committed certain crimes.

Third, you need a place where you can hunt. If you live in a rural area, you have it made. If not, the best you may be able to do is Urban Pigeon!

Firearm Observations

A .22 rifle is a great gun and a good starter weapon with not as much kick. Don’t use it for large game (anything larger than a rabbit) unless you’re a sadist. A .22 caliber rifle beats the others out for light weight and inexpensive ammunition, you can easily pack a 500 round package of ammo and it only weighs a few pounds.

Larger firearms will bring more success and less wounded run-aways, shotguns can take down flying birds but this requires skill and ammunition is very heavy. There are special semi-auto backpacking .22 rifles that disassemble and some even float, but again, unless you want to torture a deer to death, anything below .223 is not recommended.

If you are using a black powder firearm .32 is considered the small game caliber. Some air guns especially those in .22 caliber can rival a powder burning firearm. Slingshots with lead balls and lots of practice can be powerful enough to use for sustenance hunting although are mostly only useful at very short range. Learn to take careful shots and not rapid fire.

Wire snares and improvised traps are still a better way to collect animals for food but a firearm lets you grab opportunity shots and safely euthanasia animals in traps.

If hunting large game (Deer, elk, antelope, and in some states even turkey), .270 Winchester is a good round. JO- SO is also a very common and handy round which can take most game at medium ranges pretty much anything above a .223 or so will be sufficient. When hunting more dangerous game like bear, elk and moose, a .30–06, .308, or larger is commonly used (7.62x51 or 7.62x63 mm, respectively.)

Animals like bees, and most bird, can be smoked out. Building a leafy, smoky fire under a bee’s nest can cause them to pour out, leaving their honey sitting there in the hive for you to take it. Birds require something different; they need the smoke to be blown in their face, it retards them.

Spotlighting Deer

Deer are naturally attracted to bright light. So much so, that sometimes they stand in the road staring at an oncoming car, causing wrecks. Some folks exploit this behavior. Usually, this involves driving a all terrain vehicle up on some land and shining a high powered spotlight towards the edge of the woods. When the deer gets mezmorized by the bright light, another person waiting with a rifle shoots it dead. Fresh venison and weeks of food follow after.

Be careful if you do this, though. It is ILLEGAL in most areas. If Smokey the Pig catches you, this is a HUGE fine, possible jail, community service, and loss of any hunting license.


If the animal just got a broken neck or thorax crushed and the flies haven’t got to it often the meat will be in perfect quality, as long as the meat you are able to salvage is well cooked you’re ok. For cycle campers seeing a squashed animal on the road is a daily occurrence; learn how to butcher your rabbits and birds before you leave and you’re guaranteed an easy meal nearly every day. If you find you can’t salvage the meat you can always use the guts and any maggots it’s attracted for fish or trap bait. If you are really hard up even maggot infested meat is fine to eat once well cooked, the maggots actually clean away the rot first and fatten themselves up on the good meat second. Don’t be squeamish, if you are close to the edge maggots are actually extremely nutritious as they have to store up for their metamorphosis into flies, more so actually than the roadkill meat. If possible save the valuable skin.

Urban Pigeon

If the soup kitchens are providing nothing but watered broth and the dumpsters are picked clean there is still an easy source of protein if you are careful and fits your philosophy. First of all realize that this is both controversial in that some will call it cruelty and secondly it could be an excuse for the pigs to haul you in.

While in China rat is sold in markets and raccoon, cat, rabbit, and squirrel all exist in the urban zones they are too often diseased or dangerous as they will fight back. Some birds like seagulls and crows are just too gross because of their diet of vermin infested animals and rotten garbage, but the occasional dove, goose, or duck while more difficult to trap should be good to eat.

The best meat we can get for free is the simple stupid urban pigeon. The easiest way to catch them is with a little bread trail for bait, a box with a stick holding it propped up, and about twenty feet of string. A cardboard box might need a rock or brick on top for weight to help it drop closed faster. It goes like this, bird follows trail of bread under box, you pull string, stick lets box fall, bird is trapped. You can use other methods like nets or a loop of string and hope to catch a leg but the box method seems the easiest and most humane. Put your hand under the box and grab your bird, he won’t bite (if he does, it won’t hurt), be quick so he won’t hurt himself flapping, grip around his body pinning down his wings and covering his head which will calm him down a lot.

Look him over: are his feathers looking healthy or is he shedding and scabby? Is he infested with bugs or weak and sluggish? Are his eyes looking filmy or gross? If so let him go and wash your hands he is probably diseased. If he looks good snap or cut his neck quickly (with a new razor blade) so it will be over for him. Cut him open from neck to tail and look his insides over, are they glistening smooth and come out easily (good) or are they all stuck together and spotty(sick), if they look bad or wormy again chuck him out and let a cat or raccoon find him, he was not long for this world anyway. Rinse out the gut area with safe water before proceeding. You might consider plucking before cutting open (it is too hard after) to save the skin and fats, but most of us just peel the skin off and cook like a mini chicken. A pigeon soup would be the safest way to go, let it boil for at least a half hour, but an hour is better, drink or save the broth. For smaller birds like doves sometimes the breasts are all that is worth taking for pan frying but see what you can salvage of other parts at least for stew stock.

A rubber wrist rocket type slingshot, high power air pistol (.22 pellet is very good, not those wimpy BB guns), even a thrown stone can be used to zap birds at a bit longer distance but if you get caught shooting in the park expect a night minimum in the clink and your stuff confiscated for your effort. Alternatively you can build your own slingshot by using a Y shaped branch, a strip of inner tire tube (found at the local dumpster or tire shop trash) and some strong thread. Proceed to tie the ends of the rubber to the branch with strong thread loops, until it gets firmly attached. It will cost you nothing to build some, and you can even trade them later with other survivalists.

Anyone who eats meat but is offended by this idea must remember that at least this bird lived a completely free life and died quickly unlike the factory cage chickens you might be eating from the store.

Gutting and preparing meat

For people who’ve never done this before it may be a daunting task, but once you’ve learnt how to it is quite easy. Before you start, if possible sharpen your cutting tool as much as possible, it’s always preferable to have a good sharp knife but you can get by in a pinch with a piece of sharp rock, a piece of clean sharp glass etc.


For feathered game such as pigeons, just flip it onto it’s back and pluck away all the feathers on its front side surrounding the breast, they should just pull off pretty easily. After you’ve done this, feel around until you’ve got the very top of the ribcages and make a cut following them along, cutting all of the breast off as you go trying to cut off as much meat as you can. As soon as you’ve cut it off plunge it in a bowl of water and clean it thoroughly to get any dirt/blood etc off of it, be especially careful if the animal has been shot with a shotgun to remove any pellets that may have been embedded in the flesh. On pigeons the breast is the only meat worth taking, although on larger birds such as pheasant the legs have good (although sinuous) meat as well. If you have the time and are making stews or pies then the carcass can be used to make a very tasty stock, in this case pluck all the feathers off, gut as below and clean thoroughly.

Furred animals

The majority of animals that you’ll find as roadkill or easily be able to hunt will be furred animals for which the procedure is a bit different. It is preferable to have a very sharp knife for this, so you can cut the skin cleanly and not cut too deep. Again flip the animal on it’s back and make an incision from the anus up towards the throat. Try to cut only through the skin and not to make this too deep or you risk puncturing the guts, which is quite messy. If it’s a large male animal some suggest tying some string around the penis so it doesn’t leak urine and then cutting around it. From this point, you have to remove the hide from all of the animal, which can be used for a lot of different things once you’ve treated and tanned it. Make an incision along each of the legs now, either cutting the feet off or slicing a ring around the ankles and start cutting the skin away from the body. Start by pulling up the skin and gently cutting through the layers of connective tissue, trying not to cut into the meat. It should be pretty obvious where to cut, and with bigger animals once you’ve got a good portion of it off it should pull off with your fists underneath it. At this point cut the head and tail off, save the head as it can be used for tanning the hides. Now you’ll have a large carcass and it should be pretty obvious where the meat is. Gut the animal (see below). After this, with small animals it can be easier just to put the whole carcass into a pot of stew, boil it for a good 40mins+, making the flesh softer after which the nice bits can be peeled off, put into a pot of stew and the carcass discarded. Larger animals such as deer need split up and either eaten quite quickly or preserved. With roadkill it may be easier to simply cut the legs off rather than going through the process of gutting it etc, there is a fair bit of meat on the body but if you’re on the side of a road then it may be easier just cutting the legs off.


Snake is good meat! It is a bit on the bony side, though, but it more than makes up for it by being easy to get. One can kill all but the largest snakes with a decent club or rock, or even by stomping them. If you manage to kill a decent sized rattlesnake, water moccasin, or cottonmouth just cut of the head (and rattler if it has one) and slice down the underside. Snake is really good if you take it and shake the skinned snake up in a paper bag with com meal and fry it. Cajuns and folks out in Texas swear by it and there are even rattlesnake festivals in those parts. Careful though, many snakes are deadly poisonous if they take bites out of you before you can take bites out of them!

Hunting — Steal This Wiki


Now make an incision from the belly upwards, carefully cutting through the abdominal wall without cutting into the guts, which should now spill outwards. Put a hand inside and pull out the guts, cutting them away where they’re still attached. The heart, lungs and liver on most animals are still very edible although strong tasting and can be used in stews etc chopped up finely.


Fishing as a food source is a useful skill in some parts of the world. If you know what you are doing you might be able to supplement your protein intake with some lightweight gear. Forget about hobbyist fly fishing gear, we want the food.

Watch out for fish and game cops, they can take all of your gear, car, or boat as a punishment leaving you destitute if you are accused of poaching or using illegal non-sporting fishing methods. If you’re really heavy into fishing, a license and state fishing rules book can usually be had for around $5 over the counter at any sporting goods store, and it’s better safe than sorry. Look up the local laws on fishing so you know how you are legally permitted to fish and how to identify the fish it is legal to catch! Your “friendly” local ranger can now carry a gun, tazer and pepper spray, so ask yourself if saving the money is worth it in the face of police brutality.


  • 1 General Guide

  • 2 Gear

  • 3 Rods

  • 4 Reels

  • 5 Techniques

  • 6 Fish Tickling

  • 7 Preparation

General Guide

In over fished areas forget about wasting your time. Sport fishers, hunters and gatherers are often out in huge numbers during hard times and will often cause many years of damage from taking too much from the ecosystem.

Fishing licenses are usually cheap too, but you can get away without if you stay away from heavily trafficked lakes or streams. Fish is one of the most nutritious meats around, and all you have to do is scale the fish and cut out the guts (Which can be used for bait, as well) to eat that fresh, slippery sucker.

Fish can be kept in a rocked off area of the river for future eating, or for fattening them up. If you’re lucky enough to get a hold of turtle eggs, i’d recommend leaving them where they are, and coming back for them when they’re little and hatched. Depending on how long you’re out there, you could raise them up just like regular farm animals, and eat them! The shell makes a great pressure cooker, with them in it!


Cheap fishing gear can be found in any pawn shop. Bobbers, hooks and sinkers all sell for under a dollar at most sporting goods stores, but they’re usually small enough to steal for the really cheap. Dig up worms in a rainstorm, throw them in a styrofoam cup with a soil and cornmeal mix and cast away.

A telescoping pole and spinning reel will do the trick without breaking your bank or back but a stick and floss will work in a pinch. Some six pound test monofilament line will bag most small river fish, but as said before, a pawn shop can hold a treasure trove of high quality fishing gear. Estate or garage sales are also worth a look.


A fishing rod is an important, yet durable tool for fishing. There are many different types and “actions” (strength) of rod. Stronger action rods are more suited to larger fish, yet are less sensitive to bites. That said, a medium-light action rod can catch most freshwater fish and anything too large for the rod will break the line first. Most rods are graphite these days, although fiberglass is stronger and more sensitive. Like most fishing gear, rods are being updated with all sorts of totally useless features designed to fleece the rich out of their cash, so you can often find “last year’s” models on sale for cheap.


A good reel is a good investment. The third world made models will break down fairly quickly, but a good reel will last a lifetime. The two main types of reel are spinning and bait casting. Spinning reels are more versatile and easy to use, whereas bait casting reels are generally heavy duty, but harder to cast and use. As a rule, good reels are made outside of China, and can be found in pawn shops. You can also find good deals on discontinued, but perfectly good reels in many sporting goods stores. Many of these are just “outdated” models, which will still perform just fine and last as long as you want to keep them.


Ask locals their favorites but in general worms, com, insects, and dough balls all work good, it won’t hurt to carry some flashy, rattly, and spinny lures with your gear. These can easily and cheaply be made. Walleye and pike fishermen throughout the world use a simple lure called a crawler harness, which consists of a spinner blade (Cheap, flashy stamped metal in a teardrop shape with a hole on the top for the line), colored beads and 2 hooks, allowing the use of a whole worm. Add some sinkers and you have a cheap, effective lure. If you have a little money, the supplies for making lures can be very cheaply obtained. Get a big assortment pack of fish hooks, they weigh and cost very little and are useful for a hobo on the move even if you just use a stick pole and dental floss. A bobber hangs your bait off of the bottom in still water, moving water requires casting out and recovering as it floats downstream, you can use a dry stick as a bobber if needed. For simple hook and bobber fishing, you’ll also need sinkers, which are simple lead weights that go on between the hook and bobber. They are also very cheap, and you should get an assortment. Bigger weights make the bait sink faster and deeper, whereas smaller weights can be used to suspend it slightly off the bottom.

A small net at the end of a large triangle of rocks laid in the river to guide the fish in will make a good trap. A series of baited hooks in the water strung to tree branches above, the fish will stay alive as long as they are still underwater. Check your fish traps regularly as they are at risk from poaching by raccoons. Spear fish in the shallows as you are setting up your nets or hook traps with a barbed frog spear tip on a stick.

Bombing fish in a pond with chlorine bleach is classless destruction, it will bring fish to the surface but will often kill the whole ecosystem. Instead use rotenone from the organic plant store or crush green husks from butternuts or black walnuts. Throw the husks into still or slow moving water, it will do the trick just stunning the fish without killing the other animals, collect and eat or salt and smoke all fish you stun.

Fish Tickling

Although harder than other methods, fish tickling is a common method of catching fish without any equipment. It involves getting the fish you want to under a rock, or some other natural barrier it can’t back out of, and slowly moving your hand towards it until you can tickle its belly. The fish will become relaxed to a point where you can grab it and throw it onto the ground or catch it in a net.


If you catch a fish it should have firm and elastic flesh, clear and full eyes, bright red gills, a clean pleasant odor, and an absence of reddish discoloration on the ventral side of the backbone, i.e. the side of the backbone that’s on the inside of the fish. Cloudy, sunken eyes and gray colored gills are the first recognizable signs of old, decaying fish. When the head, gills, and backbone are gone, like at a store, rely on your sense of smell and touch. Worn out or dying fish have much less nutritional value but cooking them will remove danger of illness and parasites.

To clean a fish smash the brain area to kill it, then cut from the anus to the throat, remove guts(these are good fish bait, and can also be used to trap minnows and crayfish), and use a dull knife to scrape off the scales. Some fish are best filleted from the ribs but small ones are easier to leave in and remove when you eat it. Pan-fry most fish with a little oil and spices, a favorite is to use banana or other large leaves with a pleasant or neutral flavor to wrap the fish for roasting, if possible rub the fish with oil, lemon and/or pepper is nice for flavor. Salt water and a smoke pit is a way to preserve fish for a longer time, even without salt a dry smoked fish will keep for a few weeks. Another cheap and tasty way of preparing fish is dredging fillets in egg, flour then bread crumbs, seasoning with salt, pepper and paprika, and frying With all cooking methods remember fish cooks quickly like eggs, over cook it and it will get tough. Pike and similar fish contain lots of small bones, so be sure to bone the meat before cooking.


The gathering of food is a concept that has been almost entirely abandoned by modem man, making it a forgotten science and art(when it comes to preparation). During travel, survival, or when food is quickly needed. What most people don’t realize is that perfectly edible food grows everywhere, making foraging a viable survival method.

Much of the information in this article comes from both user experience and the U.S. Army Survival Handbook.


  • 1 Safety

  • 1.1 Avoiding Poisonous Plants

  • 1.2 Universal Edibility Test

  • 1.3 Ethical Foraging Guidelines

  • 2 Edible Plants

  • 2.1 Acorns

  • 2.2 Chickweed(Stellaria)

  • 2.3 Dandelion

  • 2.4 False Dandelion(Catsear)

  • 2.5 Field Com

  • 2.6 Mallow

  • 2.7 Miner’s Lettuce

  • 2.8 Mustard

  • 2.9 Opuntia(Cactus)

  • 2.10 Palm Fruit

  • 2.11 Broadleaf Plantain(Plantago)

  • 2.12 Thistle

  • 2.13 Strawberry Tree(Arbutus)


Many poisonous plants appear similar to other plants which would be edible. One example would be poison hemlock; appears to be very similar to wild carrot. The most important step to eating wild plants is to know your plant. It’s good to study what kinds of plants are edible and how to distinguish them. That way when the time comes to use your knowledge, you can spare yourself from the danger of testing plants you are not familiar with.

One good way to prevent yourself from eating poisonous material is to avoid eating plants which have wilted. Some plants can become poisonous after wilting. Also avoid eating any fruits that don’t appear ripe, because some fruits like Elderberry can be poisonous before they are fully ripe.

If you are inexperienced at foraging, it is best that you stay away from mushrooms all-together, even in a survival situation. Many mushrooms look similar and there are many kinds of poisonous mushrooms.

Avoid unnecessary contact with unfamiliar plants. Some plants can cause dermatitis(severe skin rash) which can be dangerous without proper health care. Symptoms can occur from minutes to hours. If your skin comes in contact with a poisonous plant, try to scrub off the plant oil using soap and water. If no soap is available, you can use dirt unless blisters have formed(since blisters open you up to infection). If a plant has spines or prickles, and you feel you must handle it, do so using gardening gloves or a durable material.

Ingestion poisoning can cause a variety of bad symptoms, from diarrhea, to hallucinations, to coma, and death. If you or someone else has consumed poisonous material, the best way to prevent the poison from causing serious damage is to induce vomiting. Vomiting can be induced from either tickling the back of the throat or consuming warm salty water. Whether vomiting can be induced or not, it is also important for the victim to consume a large amount of water or milk, as this will help to dilute the poison.

Avoiding Poisonous Plants

These are some general rules for avoiding poisonous plants. There are many exceptions to these rules when it comes to known edible plants, but these rules will make a desperate situation more safe.

Plant traits to avoid:

  • Milky or discolored sap.

  • Beans, bulbs, or seeds inside pods.

  • Bitter or soapy taste.

  • Spines, fine hairs, or thorns.

  • Dill, carrot, parsnip, or parsley-like foliage.

  • “Almond” scent in woody parts and leaves.

  • Grain heads with pink, purplish, or black spurs.

  • Three-leaved growth pattern.

Universal Edibility Test

From the U.S. Army Survival Handbook:

If there are no familiar plants available, or if there is any doubt of the edibility of a plant, it might be necessary to conduct an edibility test. The edibility test takes at least 24 hours to conduct.

To prepare, each part of the plant must be gathered and separated(leaves, stalk, roots, flowers, etc).

To test:

1 .) Test only one part of a potential food at a time.

2 .) Separate the plant into it’s basic components — leaves, stems, roots, buds, and flowers.

3 .) Smell the food for strong acid odors. Remember, smell alone does not indicate whether a plant is edible or inedible.

4 .) Do not eat 8 hours before starting the test.

5 .) During the 8 hours you abstain from eating, test for contact poisoning by placing a piece of the plant part you are testing on the inside of your elbow or wrist. Usually 15 minutes is enough time to allow for a reaction.

6 .) During the test period, take nothing by mouth except purified water and the plant part you are testing.

7 .) Select a small portion of a single part and prepare it in the way you plan to eat it.

8 .) Before placing the prepared plant part in your mouth, touch a small portion(a pinch) to the outer surface of your lip to test for burning or itching.

9 .) If after 3 minutes there is no reaction on your lip, place the plant part on your tongue, holding it there for 15 minutes.

10 .) If there is no reaction, thoroughly chew a pinch and hold it in your mouth for 15 minutes. Do not swallow.

11 .) If no burning, itching, numbing, stinging, or other irritation occurs during the 15 minutes, swallow the food.

12 .) Wait 8 hours. If any ill effects occur during this period, induce vomiting and drink a lot of water.

13 .) If no ill effects occur, eat 0.25 cup of the same plant prepared the same way. Wait another 8 hours. If no ill effects occur, the plant part as prepared is safe for eating.

CAUTION Test all parts of the plant for edibility, as some plants have both edible and inedible parts. Do not assume that a part that proved edible when cooked is also edible when raw. Test the part raw to ensure edibility before eating raw. The same part or plant may produce varying reactions in different individuals.

Ethical Foraging Guidelines

Like a good friend, the earth provides us with free chow, so we must take the proper steps to sustain this relationship.

14 ) Never pick too much of a plant from one area. If you must harvest a large amount, pick a moderate amount from several locations. Picking too much from a single area can affect the edible plant population and effect the local ecosystem.

15 ) Always get permission when necessary! If a certain plant is on private property, contact the owner for their permission to harvest from their plant. Most people won’t care and will allow you to do so if you are polite and honest. You generally won’t need permission if you are picking a plant from a park or anywhere that’s public property unless you are in a protected area or a county park. While you technically can pick what you want, it’s a good idea to ask local experts what should be picked and what shouldn’t be picked. Many edible plants are considered invasive or non-native, in which case you are free to pick what you like. Try to go for plants that grow fast and aren’t endangered.

16 ) Make sure to leave enough for the animals!

17 ) If you happen to obtain seeds from a plant that you have eaten, it is a good idea to plant those seeds in the same area you picked from.

Edible Plants

Here is a list of relatively common plants that are edible and easy to identify.


You can collect wild acorns for free and then turn them into a meal similar to com meal! Just gather a decent amount of acorns and shell them with a nutcracker or a stone. Grind the meat inside in a blender with water until it is a smooth paste, or hand grind it into a similar consistency. Now, you must place the ground meats into a colander lined with a paper towel and rinse thoroughly several times. You will notice that the water that runs out is milky. You are draining a bitter substance called tannic acid that rendered the meal inedible unless it is drained out. Repeat until the water that runs out is clear. Taste the meal to make sure. Too much tannic acid in your meal makes it bitter and can damage your kidneys over time, so be sure the water runs clear. After letting it dry, you can use it in a manner similar to cornmeal or flour. Use it to make pancakes, muffins, biscuits, cookies, etc.

Another method for leaching the acorns is to pour the paste into a stocking and filter out the tannic acid by running the stocking under running water. This will make it possible to process acorns even without a sink; The stocking can by placed in a stream or a river like the Native Americans used to do.

During the Civil War, acorns were used as a coffee substitute. Take plump, round acorns and shell them. Brown them in an oven and grind them with a coffee grinder. Brew as you normally would coffee. If needed, you can use this as an extender for coffee. Just remember that they can be very bitter, and won’t taste as good as regular coffee.

Acorns from the white oak tree are considered to be the best, since they tend to be very large and have the least amount of bitter tannic acid in comparison to other varieties of acorns. Native Americans used to fight over these trees because they sometimes have a very large yield, hence these trees became very valuable.


Chickweed is a ground-covering plant with small alternating leaves and little white blossoms. There are some other plants that are referred to as chickweed, such as Mouse-ear Chickweed, but these are not true chickweed. True chickweed is part of the stellaria genus, whilst false chickweeds are usually of the the Cerastium genus.

Location: There are many species of chickweed, all of which look very similar to one-another. The common chickweed(stellaria media) can be found on forest floors throughout North America, Europe, and even Australia. It has also been naturalized in Japan. Chickweed can also be found in fields and disturbed ground. While it usually grows on it’s own, if you come across Miner’s Lettuce, there is a good chance that common chickweed will be growing among it.

Identification: All true chickweeds are edible, but some false chickweeds are not. One way to identify chickweed is to examine the stem for a small single line of hairs growing up one side of the stems. In case you are not sure you have chickweed, you can take one of the stems and bend and twist part of it until the outer part of the stem comes apart; You there should still be a small white elastic fiber connecting the two parts of the broken stem. This might take a few tries. Chickweed tastes very similar to com silk, so if you are willing, you can taste one of the leaves to verify the correct flavor. If any of these 3 tests fail, you probably don’t have chickweed.

Preparation: It can be consumed as a leaf vegetable in salads. Can be boiled, but like many wild greens, it will shrink significantly if boiled.


Dandelions are quite possibly one of the ultimate famine foods. Many people believe that they are a worthless and poisonous weed. They can’t be further from the truth. Not only are they completely edible, but they grow just about everywhere and they contain more vitamins and minerals than other leafy greens such as spinach. A cup of dandelion leaves contains 112% daily recommendation of vitamin A, 32% of vitamin C, and 535% of vitamin K and 218 mg potassium, 103 mg calcium, and 1.7 mg of iron. The entire plant can be eaten and used for different purposes. The leaves can either be made into or added to a salad or blanched by boiling in salty water. The root can either be eaten and cooked like any other root, or can be roasted and ground up to be used as a coffee substitute(like Chicory). The flowers can be used to make a tea or can be made into fritters. If you can find an abundant amount of flowers, it’s possible to use them for making wine. Keep in mind that dandelion greens are somewhat bitter, so you may decide to blanch the leaves by adding them to boiling salt water(make sure you have a lot of leaves because dandelion leaves tend to shrink significantly when boiled). However the bitterness isn’t intolerable and it’s possible to acquire a taste for it. A simple dressing made of olive oil and vinegar with a little salt and pepper will make the greens more palatable.

More misconceptions about dandelions are that they are harmful to your garden. Dandelions are very efficient growers and will not harm your garden as long as there are not too many of them. You may even consider planting some in your victory garden because they grow extremely quickly and can become quite large when taken care of.

Dandelions can also be used for medicinal purposes. They are already very nutritious, but they can be used as an antioxidant and a diuretic. It’s said that they are also good for kidney and liver cleansing.

False Dandelion(Catsear)

Catsear is known as the “False Dandelion” because of it’s strikingly similar appearance. An easy way to tell the difference between a dandelion and a catsear is to check the stalk to see if it’s hollow; If it’s hollow, it’s likely to be a dandelion. If it isn’t hollow, it’s more likely to be a catsear. Dandelions also have only one flower per stalk. Catsear can have multiple flowers branch off of the stalk. Other plants have these traits though, so a better way to be sure it’s a catsear is if it’s leaves are similar to that of the dandelion.

Catsears are edible and can be used in most of the same ways that a real dandelion could be. However it’s nutritional value is unclear.

Field Corn

When riding the rails or hitchhiking you will often find fields of com waiting to feed you hungry travelers. If you are lucky you will be near sweet com, but field or dent com(animal feed) while not sweet is edible, if it is dried out you can pound or grind into cornmeal. You can eat com raw but cooking will make it taste much better. Pull the silk out of the top but don’t remove the husk(leaves covering the com). Some people will pour a little salty water in to flavor before cooking but it is optional. Wrap the husk tightly and either wrap in foil and place in the edge of the coals or place on a grille and cover, turn every few minutes. Add salt spices and butter to your liking, cooking 10- 20 minutes. If the com has already dried hard either boil it in a soup or crash into com meal and try the recipes below. (Edited from Dishes & Beverages Of The Old South by Martha McCulloch-Williams (1913): //digital, lib .msu.edu/proj ects/cookbooks/)

Another alternative is to remove all but a thin layer of husk around the com cob, instead of using foil. The only problem with this is that the husk bums rather easily, so direct flame is not recommended.


The common mallow is related to the plant that was used over 100 years ago to make the original marshmallow. A mucilaginous substance was extracted from the roots and peas of the plant, and whipped with sugar to make the confection.

Identification: Common mallow can be identified by scallop-like leaves that branch off of a central stalk. The younger plants start off as something similar to a basal rosette. Most of the leaves grow off their own branches, and the leaves have a fine hair-like texture. The leaves of the kind of mallow that grows in Europe may appear more ivy-like, but will still grow in the same way as the American common mallow. When the leaves are chewed, you may be able to feel a slight mucilaginous texture(though not always). When the plant blossoms, the flowers have 5 pink-colored petals with purple veins. The petals may also be heart-shaped. Common mallow grows in every western continent. Ground ivy can be mistaken for common mallow, and vise versa. Ground ivy has a square stem whereas mallow does not. Ground ivy leaves are more round and are attached to their stems from the center of the leaf.

Time of Year: These grow pretty much all year in most climates, although they start growing rapidly in spring.

Preparation: Mallow has very little taste and most people find the hairy texture of the leaves to be unpleasant. Generally, you will probably only want to eat the leaves of this plant if you are desperate. If you decide to eat it, boiling the leaves will make it more palatable. Though it still won’t taste great. Not bad flavor; just bad texture. Putting the leaves in a sandwich will help cover up the texture. The stalks and root can’t be eaten because they are too tough and fibrous even when boiled.

The “peas” of the common mallow are likely the most edible part of the plant. While the plants usually don’t bear that many peas, you can collect them and cook them like real peas. They aren’t very flavorful, but they’re still very good to eat. But they are the most mucilaginous part of the plant, so that may make some people turn away.

It is possible to use the plant to make the confection we know as marshmallow. You have two options: To use the root or use the peas. The root of the plant is around longer, but it also must be fairly large and the best time to collect it is during when the plant is flowering or when its producing peas. Your other option is to use the peas of the plant. The advantage in just using the peas is that you will not only probably get better results, but it means the plant itself can live to continue producing more peas. The disadvantage is that the peas only come around for one part of the year. If you want, you can use both the root and the peas.

The material should be cut up and placed in boiling water. You should use 2 to 3 cups of water for every cup of plant material you’re cooking. Over time, the water should thicken to a certain point, and then you should filter out the plant material with a sieve. Take the filtered mucilaginous fluid and whip it with sugar. Add sugar until it’s to your liking. You can either immediately put it on a dessert or you can make little plots on a sheet and let them dry.

Miner’s Lettuce

Miner’s Lettuce actually isn’t a true lettuce. It is a member of the Claytonia genus, whilst true lettuces are from the lactuca genus. Miner’s lettuce got its name from the California gold rush in 1848, because it was consumed by gold miners as a source of vitamin C to prevent scurvy. Keep that in mind in case you haven’t consumed much fruit on a long trek.

Location: Miner’s lettuce is located throughout the pacific coast of North America, even sometimes up to Alaska. Though most of it is found in California. It has also been naturalized in parts of Europe.

Identification: It is very easy to identify and has no poisonous or non-poisonous lookalikes. When the plant is young, it bears lush arrow-like leaves, and soon after it will produce saucer-shaped leaves with tiny white or purple blossoms in the middle of the saucers. Each of the leaves and saucers have their own stalk, and the stalks become very tender near the bottom and are a silvery-white or purplish color. Miner’s lettuce has very tiny roots and the whole plant can be uprooted extremely easily(it’s often difficult not to pull out the entire plant when just tugging at one of the stalks). The plant thrives in a certain amount of shade, so you will almost always find it on shady hillsides. It will grow in a variety of altitudes. This contributor has found miner’s lettuce from as low as 1,200 ft to as high as the mountains in Yosemite Valley.

Preparation: Pick it up and eat it! Every part of the plant can be eaten, and there are no spines or defenses that have to be removed. It can be easily grabbed and munched on during a hiking trip. Miner’s lettuce is best eaten raw in a salad. The stalks can be fibrous, so one might want to remove them and just eat the leaves; That doesn’t mean you can’t eat the stalks too. Miner’s lettuce can be boiled like spinach, but this isn’t recommended unless you have collected an abundance of plant material. When boiled, the miner’s lettuce shrinks significantly. Don’t boil the stalks as they become tougher to eat, due to their more fibrous nature.

Other Uses: If you’re low on drinking water, a long way from a stream, and have come across some full-grown miner’s lettuce, then you’re in luck. The tender stalks are very lush and juicy. Grab an entire plant and squeeze or chew on the stalks; They will provide you with a substantial amount of liquid good for drinking. If you squeeze the liquid out of a few miner’s lettuce plants, it may help to hold you over until the next stream.


We all know the condiment, mustard, but did you know that the mustard plant itself can be eaten? Wild mustard makes for a wonderful green vegetable, and even has a mild to pungent mustard flavor. All varieties of mustard can be eaten, and they grow in many places around the world.

Identification: Wild varieties of mustard tend to have small yellow 4-petaled flowers with 6 stamen. 3 of them are tall and 2 of them are short. The flowers come off branches from the central stem, and long skinny seed pods also grow off the stalk. The leaves are broadleaved and fairly large.

Preparation: Mustard greens can be eaten raw, but some may not like the pungent flavor. The best way to be get rid of some of the spicy taste is to boil the greens for at least 10 minutes. After that, you can add whatever dressing you like. For simplicity, olive oil and vinegar with a little salt and pepper always works well. Only cook the leaves; While the whole plant is edible, the stalk is very tough and potent even when cooked. The root is nothing special, and you can usually throw it out. But overall, mustard greens make a great food which you can also use to add flavor to other meals. If you like the mustard flavor, they make an excellent salad green and can make for an entire meal on their own, depending on size.


There are other kinds of cactus that are edible, but here we are talking about the a kind of cactus common in Mexican cuisine known as opuntias. These are cactuses that are “paddle” shaped with small irritating hairs and often long spines typical of most cacti. There are two parts of this plant that can be eaten. The paddle, known as the nopalito, can be de-spined, skinned, and cooked like a vegetable. The fruit of the opuntia, known as the prickly pear, can be skinned and eaten as is or incorporated into a dessert.

Location: Opuntias grow in 46 of the 50 states in the U.S. They can also be found in Hawaii. The only states it can’t be found in natively are New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine. They can also be found in Mexico and throughout parts of Central and South America.

Identification: Cactus is made up of multiple paddle-shaped pads and often grow magenta fruits known as prickly pears.

Edibility: All opuntias are edible. Just make sure an opuntia is what you have. They are edible both raw and cooked, but most people prefer them to be cooked.

Preparation: When collecting parts of an opuntia, make sure to always wear gardening gloves. This is to protect you from the glochlids, which are irritaing little hairs that come from the “eyes” of the pads and fruits. Not dangerous unless you get them in your eyes; otherwise they are just irritating. People underestimate the opuntia and figure they don’t need gloves because they only see large spines, and those same people end up getting their fingers covered in little itchy hairs. After you collect your pads/fiuits, make sure to wash them with water and pluck out long spines with needle-nose plyers. This will help get rid of some of the loose glochlids. There are a few ways to get rid of the glochlids. One is to bum them off with a torch, which won’t be a problem if you plan on cooking the part. Another way is to remove the eyes with an apple-corer or with the end of a peeler. The outer skin is edible, but the most sure-fire way to get rid of all the glochlids is to skin the outside of the pad/fiuit with a peeler or a knife. The pad can be grilled or boiled and seasoned with some salt & pepper. You’ll know when it’s done when it turns into a more olive-green color similar to cooked green capsicum(bell pepper). It can then be cut into little strips and added to tacos or a salad, or just eaten straight. The prickly pears can be removed of glochlids and can be eaten raw, juiced, or added to flavor a dessert. Just beware of the very hard seeds, which can break teeth.

The pads can be very mucilaginous, which can be unappealing to some people. If you boil or saute your pads, you can remove them and dump off the mucilaginous byproduct. The opuntias can provide quite a bit of food because they don’t shrink too much when cooked, unlike many other wild foods.

Other uses for the opuntia would be as a hedge for one’s property, because they make for a formidable defense.

Palm Fruit

Yet another ornamental plant that, with a few exceptions, is generally considered inedible. Those among the exceptions would be dates and coconuts. But those aren’t the only palm trees that bear perfectly good Suits!

Palm trees are very distinct, so we all know how to identify them. What makes palms even better is that none of them are poisonous! They also grow all around the world in both arid and tropical climates, and they’re often planted as ornamentals.

If you find a coconut palm, then you’re definitely in luck, and same goes for date palms. But other kinds of palms produce different kinds of fruit. One such palm is known as the pindo palm or the “jelly palm”, which produces a bounty of orange Suits that are about the size of a walnut. Some are tastier than others, and usually the Suits are very fibrous making them somewhat difficult to eat. However, the fruits are excellent for making preserves. They’re naturally mucilaginous so they do not need any pectin when making a preserve. All you have to do to make jelly palm fruit preserve is to place your fruit into a pot with enough water to cover most of them, and boil them. When the Suit becomes a little bit softer, use a potato masher to mash the fruit and get as much juice out of them as possible. Once you’ve squeezed out as much as possible, you have to strain out the fruits and then continue boiling the juice. The juice may be kind of bland, so add sugar to taste. That’s all you need to do to make a preserve out of jelly palm fruit. You may need to boil the preserve longer to get the desired consistency; You can make a syrup or create more of a jam/jelly. There are other palm trees that produce a similar orange fruit, and they can be used in the same way. The preserve will taste similar to a fruity honey. Tastes great on ice cream, contains lots of calories, and is high in vitamin C!

There is also the “saw palmetto”; a palm that produces a black olive-like fruit. Their flavor is not considered very pleasant to most, as they are often described to taste like oily and peppery blue cheese. But they are very rich in fatty acids. Eat small amounts at first to get accustomed to it. The saw palmetto is a low-growing palm like the pindo palm, but with a more fan-like leaf and the stalks have sawtooth-like spikes.

Broadleaf Plantain(Plantago)

A native to Eurasia, the broadleaf plantain grows just about everywhere(at least in North America) during nonwinter seasons. It is considered an invasive weed, and in some areas it grows so wildly, so pretty much you can’t harvest too much of it. The broadleaf plantain is small but has relatively large spoon-like leaves which are tough and fibrous when matured. They usually have a rattail-like seed pod which sticks up vertically. The older leaves can be eaten, but are very tough. The young leaves of the broadleaf plantain can be eaten because they are softer and more tender. The plant is a bit bitter with a taste reminiscent of spinach.

The large leaves can be used to dress wounds, as it contains natural antibiotics and a powerful coagulant. Because of this, plantain should not be eaten by those taking blood thinners. Broadleaf plantain leaves are known to also treat and calm insect bites; Some people chew up a leaf and stick it to an insect bite.


Thistle is another one of those foods deemed worthless by the general public. Different kinds of thistle, such as milk thistle, were somewhat of a common food at one time. They became unpopular in contrast to other vegetables due to it’s spines. But the reason the thistle developed such a formidable defense is because it can make for a good food. Little do people know about how edible and useful these spiky plants are.

The thistle usually starts out as a basal rosette, and then after a year it will grow a stalk with a flower(usually purple with large spines around it). The leaves have little spines around the edges that hurt when touched, so you may want to handle the plant with gloves. The spines on some thistles will soften when boiled, like with the sow thistle and milk thistle. But if you don’t want to boil the leaves, you can simply cut off the spines with a knife or snip them off with scissors. Depending on the kind of leaves you’re dealing with, this can be a lot of work. The greens are usually not bitter and make a great addition to your meadow salad. All thistles are edible, but make sure the plant you have is indeed a thistle. Milk thistle is particularly bountiful in that they grow large and are more broadleaved, whereas some other thistles have narrow leaves. Milk thistle can be identified from other thistles in that the leaves have milk-colored splotches on them.

The inner stalk of the thistle can be eaten raw or boiled. To get to this tender part of the stalk, you have to carefully strip off the leaves until you are left with the part you want. The stalk is hollow and has a somewhat similar feel to celery when cut. Depending on the size of your thistle, the stalk can be of decent size, and the harvest is especially worth it if you find an abundance of thistle.

The leaves and the seeds can be used medicinally as a liver tonic. While research in the past lead to unclear results, a more recent government-funded study showed that the chemical in milk thistle, silymarin, showed promise in treating toxin-induced liver damage.


When the plant dries out after the summer, the flower becomes a mass of soft white fibers with seeds. The fiber can makes great tinder for starting a fire and it can also be used as a replacement for down in a pillow.

Strawberry Tree(Arbutus)

This plant is somewhat common as an ornamental plant in suburban areas that are of a Mediterranean climate. The strawberry tree bears many fruits which vaguely resemble the strawberry. The fruits are red and berry-like with a bumpy outer-texture, about 3/5 the size of a golfball. Most strawberry trees are actually more bush-like than a tree, with flat green leaves. The best way to identify the strawberry tree is to look at the fruits. The fruit matures at the same time as the newer fruits develop, so there will be both yellow fruits and red fruits(the red ones are ripe and edible). The ripe fruits are soft, sticky, and orange inside with many little seeds. The fruits usually don’t have much flavor, although some strawberry trees have better tasting fruits than others. The flavor is often referred to as a combination of peach and strawberry. Though the fruits are unknown by most people and considered worthless, they can easily be made into a tasty jam preserve and can even be used to make alcohol. The strawberry tree bears quite a bit of fruit, so a single harvest can yield a large amount of food.

Strawberry Tree Jam


  • 4 cups of strawberry tree Suit

  • Juice from 1 lemon

  • 1 cup of sugar

  1. Wash the fruit thoroughly and remove the stems. The skin can be left on and will dissolve in the jam process.

  2. Take a large spoon or a potato masher and mash the fruit in a large bowl or pot. Mash it thoroughly until there are no large chunks. You will now have a large orange mash with red specs from the skin.

  3. Now comes the hard part. The seeds of the fruit are many and very tough. It’s possible to have the seeds present in the jam, but it will make the jam tough and not as pleasant to eat. To filter out the seeds, you must pour the mash through a sieve into a cooking pot. This is a somewhat long process, depending on how much fruit you have. It might be necessary to add water to the mashed fruit to make it filter through easier(however this will significantly increase cooking time).

  4. Add the lemon juice to the fruit mash, and then bring the mixture to a boil. Then turn it down to a simmer and stir occasionally for an hour.

  5. Slowly add the sugar and let simmer for 3 hours, stirring occasionally. Taste occasionally and add more sugar or lemon juice depending on your preference.

This jam can either be properly canned or placed in a container for short-term storage.


The modern restaurant, fast food places, and cafes sell convenience at the expense of the lower working classes. Money is made off selling to folks who do not want to cook due to work, needing to feed many folks, or being in a popular location. The restaurant associations get away with paying waiters below the federal minimum wage legally (in many states)and force them to live off of patron’s tips. Fast Food pays employees poverty wages for being covered in grease. Meanwhile, the district bosses, owners, and top executives lead country club lifestyles.

Restaurants currently operate under three main different models. Fast food is all about getting fed quickly and cheaply. Sit-down restaurants are about eating in a relaxed atmosphere where the customer has a servant making sure they do not have to get up (unless it is a buffet.) Delivery deals with getting food to the customers location. We will discuss all three.


  • 1 NOT Eating Out

  • 2 Fast Food

  • 3 Sit-Down Restaurants

  • 3.1 Dealing With and not Pissing Off Restaurant Staff

  • 3.2 The Walk-out

  • 3.3 My Food is not Cooked Right!

  • 3.4 Turning Employees

  • 4 Delivery

  • 4.1 It Has Been a Long Time and My Food Is Not Here!

  • 5 Restaurant Waste

NOT Eating Out

One could easily blow $20 USD (or more.. if you get fancy or get alcohol) for one person in a sit-down restaurant. This includes tipping so some wage slave does not hate your guts if you ever come back there. If you eat even only one time a day, this could easily be 600 a month just to eat! Yes, there are some ways to save. Not getting (or stealing) a drink, only getting cheap items from fast food, or going to only lunch buffets can bring down the cost. But, with the exception of fast food ‘dollar menus’, most of the time you can prepare your own much cheaper.

Don’t get that ‘sorry’ feeling for blowing your precious survival cash on an overpriced junk. This really needs to be watched if you are in wage slavery or homeless! Our advice to you is to make a big breakfast and carry your lunch and a late snack or dinner. In winter plan a way to warm your “out” meals.

Many restaurant meals are nutrition poor but high in both fat and carbohydrate calories which can be useful to someone who wants to abate their hunger for longer than an hour or two and involved in some physical labor, foot or bike travel, or just be stuck outside in the wet and cold. Be aware that there is a movement especially directed at fast food places to reduce calories sometimes even by substituting diet non-digestible fat and sugar substitutes. You might soon find yourself spending your hoarded cash on fake food which is effectively flavored and textured cardboard and candle wax; you will be denied even the empty calories you were hoping to acquire.

Fast Food

Fast Food corporations market (mostly) high calorie food to folks that only have a short time to eat or are too busy/ too lazy/ can not cook. Fast food also markets to the poor with value deals and not having to tip. They draw in folks with kids by maintaining one of the largest cheap toy distribution networks and ad campaigns in the world. For all that money, it is common for non-management to be making below poverty wages and managers working 70 -90 hours a week.

Fast food places can be fairly cheap if you stick to ‘dollar menus’. Most of the cheap specials are not very filling and can leave you hungry unless you get a bit of it, but it is a meal. Some offerings may be bad on your cardiovascular system when eaten regularly, so be mindful. You can get a burger or taco for a dollar or two which is cheaper than picking up all the stuff you would need at a grocery store to make it.

The biggest money maker for fast food is ‘upselling’ combos. The pitch is to charge a few dollars more for a small bit extra of a side item and drink. Every cashier is drilled to ask before every sale under pain of keeping a job. You do not really get much except for a few extra fries and a bit bigger overpriced drink.

Speaking of drinks... the fountain machine puts out soft drink for pennies, yet you get charged dollars. You can get a much better deal buying your drink from a grocery or convenience store. Some will frown on you bringing in outside drinks, though.

The biggest scam currently going is the fast food places that let you get your own drink and free refills. If you ask for a cup of water, you can generally just go get soft drink instead and rarely be harassed if common sense is used. With the possible exception of the manager, who usually has to work equipment as well, most employees really do not care or are too busy.

Sit-Down Restaurants

Dealing With and not Pissing Off Restaurant Staff

When you talk of sit down restaurants, you are talking of basically renting a seat unmolested by claims of loitering for a period of time usually for the duration of your meal. Some of these “rents” are fairly inexpensive while the upper middle and upper class 4 star places in good locations with name brand chefs and multiple waiters to suffer over your every swallow can run 60 USD a seat or much more...

Regardless, the staff at restaurants can sometimes be a source of free food. But, only if you do not piss them off and they are allowed to slide by greedy management. Like any culture, the service industry has a set of unspoken rules that can put you on ‘good terms’. The life of waitstaff, especially, is feast or famine. On busy nights, they are easily the highest paid people in the building, but on slow nights they might not even take home enough to cover taxes.

  • Service staff hates people that do not tip with a passion. They may not mention this in front of a customer’s face for fear of you complaining to their corporate overlord, but it can be guaranteed to be talked about in the kitchen to other waiters. Many states LEGALLY allow servers to make way below the minimum wage. In addition, they may be also responsible for tipping out other staff as well. A few bad tables combined with slow times can mean the server works for nothing.

  • When you tip, tip cash. Some restaurants hold credit card tips until the server’s payday which can be up to two weeks or longer to make sure Uncle Sam gets his (and they do not have to pay compensation if the server does not report enough tips). Your server will appreciate this. Greedier places even deduct a fee from the tip to cover use of the credit card machine.

  • Do not be a piece of shit! This includes ordering staff around, snapping fingers at them, causing scenes, never being satisfied, etc. It is bad enough to be a wage slave. While some trust fund babies may get an ego out of this, being cool can attract much more than being a jerk.

  • Do not ‘run’ the waitstaff. Serving tables is A LOT of running back and forth from the kitchen and the assigned group of tables. During ‘rush’ times, this can be stressful and requires good memory and juggling many steps mentally at the same time. Be sure to tell them everything you need at one time and not 50 trips for small things. This really pisses them off.

  • If you have a small child, control your child or tip extra. French fries spread under the table mixed with crayons and spills all over the table is a lot of work. Many waiters make their money by turning over the tables frequently. A massive clean up may make that table not settable for a long time.

  • Do the little things. Offer to box your own to-go plates if the place allows it. Stack the plates. If you eat like a pig, do not leave big messes.

  • Do not come in right when they are about to close. The staff wants to get the hell out of there. It messes up closing duties and can delay getting off up to hours. Grease, sweat, managers, and dealing with people makes some want to erase their CorpGov abuse with an activity of choice as soon as possible. Late night bars after weekend tips and kitchen paydays are popular places they go. In large towns and tourist areas, there are even service industry bars that sometimes give discounts to them.

  • If they are not being slammed, chat with your wait-person. Sincere small talk and maybe a short travel story (rememberSecurity Culture) can make you appear human other than an endless conveyor belt of customers. If they think of you as a friend (and not simply another tip), they might want to draw you back for more tales of the road.

  • Asking outright for freebies is generally an alienating move until you have built a rapport.

  • ALWAYS make sure to tip as extravagantly as possible ANY favors to let the staff know that you are sharing what wealth you do have.

  • In our sexist society, you will find that a woman has a better chance to get free stuff with a male waiter, especially with a slightly cute, shy approach, while still letting him know you are running tight and relying on his compassion. Males usually also have more success with males if they can become interesting and respected; a male appealing to another male’s compassion is more likely to elicit a reaction of disgust than sympathy.

Folks have suggested that posing as a charity and getting the restaurant to ‘donate’ food is a possible major food scores for the more charismatic. However, most of the time, managers are not going to do this because of food poisoning lawsuits. A few go as far as not even letting their own staff, but some will let staff. Better to ask a friend who works in one. However, we have known of some folks who claimed they had a bunch of dogs or pigs to feed and wanted the food for slop get this to work in rural areas. Of course, these folks looked the part of some guy in a trailer with dogs or on a small farm.

Being liked by the staff sometimes has perks. You may find that your coffee is left off the bill. You could be given a free buffet. Even another customer’s unwanted entree may find its way to your table. Once you’ve cultivated a relationship with a restaurant, you might even be able to bargain leftovers if you hang around at closing time. People can be surprisingly compassionate and empathetic if they identify with you.

The Walk-out

Warning: If the server handles money, restaurants make the server responsible for PAYING YOUR BILL if you walk out! Leaving a tip does not help much. It is nice to stick it to the man, just make sure it is the man you are actually hurting!

Sit-down restaurant food is one of the few products where it is acceptable in society to consume the product and pay later. The walkout takes advantage of this. Walking out works really well with a partner. (a male-and-female duo works best for this kind of scam, but if you are two of the same gender, it might work to your advantage to pretend that you are siblings). As long as you appear clean and are dressed appropriately for the place, you should be fine. You may want to avoid the place for several months or years afterward, though.

To walk out, just watch the server and busperson for when he or she goes to the kitchen then nonchalantly disappear. Going for a smoke outside or the restroom is an acceptable excuse if questioned. Then leave promptly. If this is a place where they have a cashier or host at the front, watch for when they are busy, then walk briskly out the door and bolt! If escaping in a car, please be mindful of any chasing staff viewing the plates of your car. Once you are off the property, you are home free.

A good related trick to the walk-out, is the walk-in. This will work in most buffets, as you pay for a tray and not a plate. The trick works best if you are with a group of people or if you say you are meeting up with someone if asked. Simply walk past the register, maybe go into the bathroom if you see that the cashier saw you, wait a few minutes, and grab a plate. Many places give cups up front where you have to pay. But, to avoid attention, bring your own. Just be smart with it. While you have an unlimited source of food in front of you, you might as well stock up with plastic bags or something of that nature. Again, be smart, this trick is a lot better if you have access to refrigeration. If you need a paper cup, go to another restaurant, and say you just want a few cups for a 2-liter bottle of soda in your car. Get creative, the cup trick works well at smaller places, and doesn’t work well at fast food places, foreign restaurants are perfect.

Don’t dine and ditch unless you have no other choice! Leaving without paying your tab/ bill is a form of shoplifting and can get you hauled in. Only attempt this ruse out of town, because a waiter might remember “those bastards that ran off without paying.”

My Food is not Cooked Right!

Most restaurants will refund your money if you complain about the food or have it sent back the kitchen. Your server may get annoyed, but all restaurant managers are allowed to give ‘comps’ to displeased customers.

This one is simple. Order something and say it’s overcooked or undercooked. Naturally, do not eat more than a bite or two or some places will refuse to play along. However, if you complain convincing enough it should be possible to get another dish for free. Sometimes you can even get a full 3 courses gratis if one of them isn’t done right! If you claim your ‘dining experience’ was ruined by your companions having to wait while your were still eating or their food held under a heat lamp while they were fixing your order, the better.

This one is remarkably easy to pull off and has a very high rate of success. There’s no need for an elaborate setup, and it’s perfectly legal, too. You can also call the corporate office with a complaint and sometimes get a comp even if the manager did not give it away.

Glass in the food, bug in the food, etc. is only urban legend. In the extremely rare case of this, you are pretty much expected to walk out if this is the case and never come back. If there is even the slightest suspicion by the manager you placed this in the food and walked out, you can be hauled off. Lawsuits are rare because more evidence is needed besides a wrapped food or plate. You would need an actual doctor bill.

Turning Employees

Use some charm and make friends at the pizza shop. Most places we have set down we find a pizza shop and we get free food and drinks and an air conditioned place to hang out during the day several times a week. For some reason the strip mall, no tips expected, lunch rush, single slice to go type pizza shop with one post high school employee on duty is just perfect for this hack once the lunch rush is over and they are bored during the 3-5pm lull. Fast food and other restaurants with better peak time management and inventory control give you little chance to talk to the staff and convert them to a free handout. Baristas at non chain places and sandwich and sub places during slow hours are also good targets but often there is not the filling food at a coffee shop like the pizza shop has.

After a few paying visits where you keep them company, leave a buck or two tip or share a cigarette. Once you establish a rapport ask for a free slice or two from the stuff that has sat for a while in the single slice case. Be cynical, you are hungry and broke, remember that you are there for food not to convert the unwashed masses so don’t attack his political positions to harshly but play up his labor rights. If there is no tip jar complain how terrible that is and make one out of a cup and post-it for them. Once that door is open use it again, but don’t attack the stale stuff every day at first and watch how they react when you do, some people get weirded out by the mooch so avoid that guy when they work. Even if you get toppings just ask to pay for the plain pizza. In the places where this mooching the stale stuff has worked several times we offer to let the employee smoke or stay seated and you will make yourself up a slice that you then pay for to get them comfortable with you in the kitchen. Wait until a day when there is no stale pizza say you forgot your wallet and ask permission to slap together a small pizza. Once you have permission to walk back there the first time to make free food just keep it up sometimes paying sometimes not, although only if there are no stale slices to mooch. This is all about pushing the comfort zone slowly.

Always clear and wipe your table and others nearby especially when he is busy so the person on duty feels like he owes you something. Our experience is that you should do everything except touch the register, when you do your own pizza or drink. Always show them that you are leaving the cash behind the counter near the register when you do pay, they are responsible for the total at the end of the day and if you ever touch or hang out near the register they will always blame you if they ever end up short and you will ruin the scam. Lastly once we know the employee is ‘cool’ a joint or two for after they get off work will probably lock up your free pizza scam for good.


Folks with a phone number, an address, and no food in the house can call some restaurants to take food to them. Most delivery places specialize in pizza or Chinese food because of good hold times on that food. However, bigger and more upscale areas may have more choices while someone out in rural areas may have none.

Delivery is not cheap. Most of the time, there are minimums to the dollar amount of the order and the prices can be inflated without deals. You are also expected to tip the delivery person.

Delivery can refuse to go to an area for many reasons. Sometimes hotels make deals prohibiting guests from purchasing any food in the hotel except theirs. Additionally, the management can refuse to go to certain areas for it merely being populated by certain ethnic groups, real or imagined high crime, or history of high complaints/no tips from drivers.

It Has Been a Long Time and My Food Is Not Here!

”30 Minutes or Free” type of deals have fallen out of favor due to concerns about speeding tickets and bad press. Instead, most businesses have a practice of adjusting the estimated time based on volume and weather. If the food takes longer, they usually have a policy based on how late it is as to how much money to take off. If your food really is late, use this to save cash.

Discounts can be given sometimes even if the customer is in the wrong. It is possible to give a bad address with a new phone number to get free cold food. Modernized delivery places keep a computerized database of phone numbers associated with first name, address, and what you order. If the first address given is wrong, the delivery driver will try to call you. If you cannot be reached, the driver will take it back to the store. Calling again after this can get it for free or at least a major discount for a future order from that phone and address. Do not do this too much as the manager can rightfully refuse to deliver to you as a bad customer.

Be sure to tip the delivery driver if you try to pull this. Having to redeliver cuts the amount of runs they do and total tips. Bad runs screw them out of the meager compensation for gas,vehicle wear, and cell phone minutes by the greedy corporate office.

Restaurant Waste

Much usable food is thrown away. Usually any food the staff does not claim gets mixed in with used plastic straws, dish room chemicals, and half eaten food. Any used grease gets recycled. The middle class calls thrown away food ‘food cost’ or ‘wastage’ and sets up rules to reduce this so the owners and stock holders can make as much money as possible. Sources of ‘food cost’ come from these sources:

  • Pre-prepared food past hold time is the majority of edible food waste. Some food takes much more time to prepare than a customer can wait. Typically, this food is kept in some kind of hot box or steam line with a date label. Using data from food researchers on the spread of bacteria, there are industry wide temperatures maximum length of time these must be stored. Good restaurant managers keep logs of how much food was used in the past on different days to try to keep from over anticipating sales and cooking too much food. Usually, only the manager on duty, cook, or dishwasher has access. Strict control over to-go containers and outside containers (supply cost) are designed to keep cooks from intentionally cooking too much to be able to take home or give away food. If you can get the food that is fixing to be thrown away off a steamline or hot box, you are in for a good meal.

  • Bad orders can be a major source of food cost if the place deals with finicky customers or staff mistakes. Most restaurant managers watch this, too. Industry accepted procedure is to immediately remove the dish that is being complained about from customer view. It gets handed to the manager on duty or the cook to decide the plate’s fate. If it is something that can be fixed by being under cooked, it is recooked and put on a fresh plate or re-wrapped. If it has any bites out of it, most staff immediately throws this into an 50 gallon trash can. Anything without bites taken out of it can be offered to staff or done with what the manager pleases. If you are in good with the staff, sometimes you can get these bad orders if the staff has not dug in already.

  • Dishroom waste is inedible and is laden with chemicals. Half eaten food is combined with lemon rinds, bones, plastic straws and cups, broken glass, and mostly eaten food. Mostly eaten food is always removed from customer view as quickly as possible. The food from the plates is removed and thrown into garbage. Only front staff and the dishwasher has access to eaten food before it hits the garbage. Managers avoid this stuff. The workers usually have access, but meal plans and the stigma of appearing ‘nasty’ to the supervisor by eating this is a real concern. The only useful portion of this is limited to desperate staff in places without meal plans. Who wants something that has been slobbered on and may make someone sick? Many sit down food dumpsters have little edible food because it is mixed with this dishroom waste.

  • Used grease from fryers is inedible and is dangerously, permanently scarring hot when first taken out. Used grease is always poured into a large special dumpster to be collected and reprocessed to eventually be made into lady’s cosmetics. No matter how desperate, NEVER try to dip into the grease container out back.

Food Programs


  • 1 Food not Bombs

  • 2 Food Stamps (SNAP)

  • 3 WIC

  • 4 Religious Organizations and Shelters

  • 5 Feed a Yippie

Food not Bombs

Ask around to see if your town has a Food Not Bombs chapter. FNB groups in cities across the US and several other countries serve healthy, free, vegan food to anyone who wants it. Most chapters serve at least once a week, some serve everyday. FNB groups usually serve in a public place, such as a park or town square. Food Not Bombs groups will also often agree to provide food at large gatherings, such as protest marches, picket lines, disaster areas, activist conferences, etc. provided they have the resources to do so. Go tohttp://www.foodnotbombs.net for more info, including an (incomplete) list of active groups.

Food Stamps (SNAP)

The Food Stamp program is always around if you qualify. Food Stamps are now debit cards that can be used like real debit cards at supermarkets for storable food goods. More information is in the ‘Welfare’ section of ‘Free



This is a state-run federal program that gives baby formula, juice, powdered milk, and cereal to folks who have just had a baby. The food can be either picked up from a central location or bought from a store depending on the state.

You can stay on it until your kid turns 5 years old. The income cut-off levels are also fairly easy to meet.


Religious Organizations and Shelters

Often, organizations (especially religious clubs) at high schools, colleges, and community centers provide free breakfasts and snacks.

In some major cities, there are a few Krishna religious groups that often give out a free vegetarian meal if you sit in for a seminar (Fair warning: The food they serve can be VERY spicy!). Be advised the quality can vary wildly. Some groups have good resources for ingredients and skilled cooks that can make stuff that tastes great. Others are not quite as lucky and/or good.

Also, consider helping or going to your local homeless shelter. Not only can you help those in need but you can also get a free meal or two. Most shelters also have way more than they serve. Much of the excess food goes to waste. Sometimes they will give their volunteers some of the extra. Many have a walk-in cooler, freezer and pantry that are filled to the brim and at least half of it gets thrown out every week. Browse the back and take what looks good to feed you, your friends, your family and others less fortunate. After all, we could all use a free meal!

Feed a Yippie

If you are not up to direct action at least support our kids in the streets, use the large group recipes inCheap Chow or whatever you can dumpster dive and support our troops! Please remember that we need to eat every day, put a chalk mark on the curb or sidewalk Wall Painting so we know you are willing to feed a traveling Yippie.

This page was last modified on 24 July 2010, at 14:07.


CorpGov spends big bucks in research to scientists to figure out what what motivates people to do things. Of course, most of this research is not in any particular best interest, but to motivate you to spend more than you need. Everything from simple store layout to what actors or actresses folks would identify with in commercials are heavily planned out. Some gas stations even have TVs now at the pumps to force you to watch ads to buy stuff and big stores like Walmart even have in-store radio to suggestive sell to you!

Supermarkets will go over frugal shopping, some things to watch out for, and some common scams.

Shoplifting is a amoral discussion if an emergency need arises to take something from one of these places.


  • 1 Getting Food Extra Cheap

  • 1.1 Sample Surfing

  • 1.2 Discount Stores

  • 1.3 Coupons

  • 1.4 Shopping List

  • 2 Scams

  • 2.1 Self Check-Out

  • 2.2 Lifting a Meal

  • 2.3 Marketing Scams

  • 2.4 Munchies and Hungries

  • 2.5 Papers Please

  • 2.6 Gift Cards

  • 2.7 UPC Tricks

  • 2.8 Bakery Coupon Scam

  • 3 Club Card Warning

  • 4 Working at a Store

  • 5 The Dumpster

  • 6 Wholesale Markets

Getting Food Extra Cheap

Sample Surfing

Many large chain deli’s will give you a sample if you ask, enough corpgov fat and batter to tease but not enough to satisfy. Hit several stores and you might get enough to fill you up, many stores also have one day a week where vendors give lots of samples in the aisles.

Discount Stores

In some poorer neighborhoods, you can often find discount grocery stores that sell odd-lot packages of food. Often these are over-runs of stuff meant for regional chains with unfamiliar or ripoff brand names (Oat Loops instead of Cheerios, for example), stuff that’s close to the expiration date or major label items that were meant for export with English-language labels slapped on them (so don’t be surprised if you see Arabic corn flakes or instant oatmeal with Chinese text). Many of the major odd-lot stores like Big Lots, Dollar General and 99 Cents Only sell this kind of food at a major discount. If something is in stock and you like it, buy it, since the supply of these bargains is spotty at best.

Bakery Outlet type stores sell breads, crackers, cakes, pies and cereals that are weeks (if not days) before their freshness dates expire. If you have access to a freezer, stock up!


The Sunday newspaper sometimes has coupons in the circulars. Most of the time, these are for newer products or seldom bought items while coupons for staple items are rare. But, sometimes a decent coupon can be found. It usually is not worth it just to buy a paper for coupons. If you already have a Sunday paper, though, it cannot hurt to look.

Shopping List

Instead of reaching for the prepared foods try grabbing these foods which will last for a few days unrefrigerated. You can add or subtract items from this list by figuring the cost against the food value. Staple Ingredients (for staying put and saving money):

  • Flour white or wheat

  • Eggs

  • Oil, shortening, or margarine

  • Vinegar

  • Baking soda

  • Pasta

  • Vegetables, assorted for stew and stir fry

  • Dry beans

  • Rice

  • Oatmeal

  • Sugar

  • Tomato sauce packets

  • Liquid soap

  • Kerosene, charcoal, or Sterno fuel- as required for cooking

Used in smaller amounts:

  • Salt

  • Yeast- in a jar

  • Baking powder- sealed can

  • Aluminum foil-as needed

  • Spices and condiments- as budget allows

  • Ziploc and plastic grocery sacks

  • Parmesan Cheese-as budget allows

  • Vitamins

Ready to Eat(good to have in you pack if you have to move out):

  • Ramen

  • Fruits fresh and dried

  • Canned meat or fish

  • Crackers and bread

  • Peanut butter

  • Cheese

  • Canned soup and vegetables


Self Check-Out

Make the self checkout lane work for you! Ring up more expensive foods as cabbage or bananas; they tend to be sold pretty cheap by the pound. There is usually one employee (if that) not very closely watching over four or more self checkout lines. Be aware of any product recalls, because if a product has been deemed unsafe (salmonella, e coli, etc) the clerk will be alerted if you enter the code for that product. This is probably not too big of a risk, as this happens around the summer once at least every three years.

This also works quite well if your grocery store has a bulk foods section that sells grains, cereals, candies, cookies, etc. When purchasing bulk foods, you’re typically asked to shovel the amount you want into a bag, then weigh it, enter the item’s PLU, and print a label that gives the total cost and bears a barcode for scanning. In order to get a great deal of high quality food for very little money, you simply enter the PLU of a much cheaper product (ideally one that looks a lot like what you’re actually buying) and print that receipt instead. For instance, you might have filled a bag with organic quinoa at $6.99/lb., but enter the PLU for conventional bulgur at $2.49/lb. The clerk watching the self-checkout line is guaranteed not to notice a difference. Of course, if you’re especially bold, you could just fail to print a label at all and discreetly slip the item into your sack while checking out. Without a label, no alarms will sound when you leave the store.

Lifting a Meal

If you feel like eating, it is generally a better idea to load up a basket and then go into the bathroom and eat in one of the stalls. Leave a few items in your basket so you don’t look suspicious. Then, you can put everything back or just take it. If you eat in the bathrooms, don’t be stupid and remember to wash your hands. Nobody wants a sick Yippie. Another more risky option if the bathroom is out is you could eat some food (including deli food, just ask for them to bag it and you will pay with your other items) in a quiet aisle and ditch the container behind some boxes. Be careful, in some places you can be busted for shoplifting as soon as a security agent or employee sees you take only one bite, chances are they will probably kick you out on the first offense. But ‘sampling’ food can get you caught for ‘theft for the purpose of consumption’ or something sounding similar to that. Better to check the dumpsters in back and avoid a chance for quality time with Officer Friendly.

Marketing Scams

Most packaged, branded food is marked up like crazy. Healthier and noname foods tend to be cheaper. Good for you, if it turns out you have to pay. Look for these foods on the very bottom and top shelves. The brand name items the supermarket is pushing will be at the average person’s eye level.

Munchies and Hungries

Most of us end up shopping (and shoplifting) when we are hungry or worse stoned and munchy. You will end up wasting your money on cheap packaged foods with little nutritional value. Plan shopping trips and take a list, stick to your well planned shopping list, corporations have special employees who plan the store shelf layout very carefully to seduce idiots into buying expensive junk. Plan your nutrition, make a diet to plan shopping, like an overweight person on a diet does, but count nutrients and calories for energy and value not weight loss. Marketing 101: Corpgov marketing strategies are known to work much better on hungry supermarket customers.

Papers Please

Another method is to enter a supermarket armed with shopping bags and a receipt(from said supermarket). Put what you want into a shopping cart. When you’ve got what you want, find a low traffic, low security area(The bedding section, garden center, discount aisle) and put your goods into the shopping bag(s). Then just walk right out(with the receipt in hand). If you’re stopped, hand them the receipt, they usually won’t take the time to check for each item. This works best during medium to peak business hours.

Gift Cards

Go to the corporate store and find the gift card on the shelf, the first one in the stack preferably. Walk around the store with it and memorize or write down the security information on the back of the card. It should be a series of numbers. Then return the card as if you decided against purchasing it. Then wait a month or two and check online to see if the card is activated because it was purchased. If yes, then use the card to make purchases online. Don’t worry about ruining Johnny’s birthday. Most of the corporate stores set up refund programs to stop bad press and keep people buying the cards. Please use the card in support of progressive causes (such as donations to legit nonprofits) because we should be using these skills to help everyone.

UPC Tricks

Many supermarkets have a section near the back with marked-down items that are old or damaged, with the UPC written over with a new price. Cashiers ring up these items using the new price no questions asked, so one can do this for any item.

If you can find an old CueCat or other cheap bar code scanner you can scan some inexpensive or generic item that you find in the trash and then print new UPC’s on sticker paper to stick onto goods at the market, be sure the description is close to what you are sticking or a sharp checker might bust you. Don’t try this scam too often with the same checker or at the same store in case the management starts looking for you.

Photocopying UPC’s and gluing/sticking them onto more expensive items should work especially if you are in a self service scan point. It is important to remember that most self service checkouts weigh the items as you add them to the bag so only fake the UPC on same weight items.

Bakery Coupon Scam

One of our writers sent a letter to a large US bakery company saying that French students were coming to the high school and that there would be a presentation on American foods. They were asked to donate products for the exchange students to sample. One week later four coupons arrived worth five dollars each for that corporations bakery products. This is a great totally legal way to get some basic food if you are low on cash, because even most junk food companies also make bread and other products that are better for you. This also works if you write a polite letter to complain or compliment their products or just to ask questions, this sometimes also works if you call the 1–800 info number.

Club Card Warning

As tempting as a few pence off sounds, don’t use a Clubcard. Ever. These little bastards will keep track of all your purchases, how you paid, when you bought them, and even what store you shopped at. Think of it not so much as giving you savings, but charging you for not being able to track purchases! A Clubcard is the easiest way to destroy any alibis you might need later on — so don’t use them. The best way to deal with Clubcards is to simply patron stores that still do not use them. But, if this is not realistic due to location or savings, there are ways around this.

Most stores allow use of your phone number in place of a Clubcard, since people can be generally forgetful. This allows two methods to get past this. You can use someone else’s phone number or create a card with a fake name and phone number. You may be able to get another’s phone number if you are watchful and happen to see someone key it in. However, be cautious in using this as sometimes they can tell if more than one person is on the card. Especially if you move to another city and use it. Creating a fake card is fairly easy depending on place. Some do not check for ID and most well let you fill it out anyway if you say you left your ID at home. You can just fill out an card application with a false name and number. Just make sure it is a non-local number that could be not taken.

By far the easiest way to get ClubCard discounts is to use the simple excuse, “I left mine at home”. Most Supermarkets have generic ClubCards at each register, and the cashiers will have no problem swiping for you. Even if this is not the case, other customers will probably have no problem swiping in for you to move the line. The other easy way is to use the self check-out lane. Many Supermarkets either have a button on the bottom of the self check-out screen such as “Forgot my Card,” or it would be under something like “Product Look Up” for things without bar codes.

The US Department of Homeland Security openly claims to purchase an updated database from all major club card stores and credit card companies (credit and debit) so that they have instant access to who is buying what and when to fight “terror”. Even a stolen club card number can be quickly attached to your profile even if your name is unknown and can be used to follow shopping and travel patterns.

Working at a Store

If you work at a store where the dumpsters are kept outside, then they can be used to smuggle out stock from inside. Particularly useful is if you work at the kiosk: When restocking the shelf with cigarettes, dropping some into the waste paper bin will mean that the cigarette pack will end up in the dumpster as soon as the bin is emptied. Simply return that night and retrieve! Also can be done with multipacks of alcohol: With crates of canned lager, the cans are normally smaller than usual. Thus, if one of the cans is damaged, the rest will have to be thrown out, as they can’t be resold individually (they normally lack a barcode too). Again, retrieve them from the dumpster that night!

The Dumpster

Of course, if all else fails, there is always the dumpster located usually in the back docks of the store. Sometimes, if you are lucky, you can find usable items in here. However, you may also be in for a gross, sticky mess. Avoid going into the compactor model dumpsters as most of the time it destroys anything useful and is highly dangerous. Dumpsters are also a place that attracts disease and maggot carrying insects and harmful bacteria that can make you very sick. Try to stick to packaged or canned stuff you may find or obviously fresh things if you must do this.

Some places may have a separate dumpster for expired produce, but more and more places are switching to the compactor models and box recycling to save money on trash disposal bills.

Wholesale Markets

In Hoffman’s original book, he had a section on Wholesale and Farmer’s markets. In a few cities Farmer’s markets are open once or twice a week in season, produce stands can still be found in rural areas along highways, shop these local farmers first before using the globalist wage slavery stores. Wholesale markets are now mostly membership fee clubs like Sam’s that cater to bulk buyers and small businesses, you might be able to buy from them if paying cash but the discounts are not that large. As such, these will not be discussed further.

Farm It

As food prices spiral upwards, the personal and group garden will come back into vogue. This Victory Garden puts us somewhat above the heavy handed and regularly used strategy of people control through the selective distribution of food to the “good” people. Try to acquire and seed non hybrid seeds before times of trouble, as these seeds can be used generation after generation. Don’t kill yourself with poisons; use natural insect repellents and fertilizers. Try to plant some staple foods, like spinach, cabbage, and squash, which offer more versatility for dishes. Even an urban dweller is not excused, you have greenspaces, rooftops and even suspended window platforms to farm from.


  • 1 General Farming

  • 2 What to grow

  • 3 Farming Techniques

  • 3.1 Urban

  • 3.1.1 Guerrilla Farming

  • 3.1.2 Tire Farming

  • 3.1.3 Trash sack

  • 3.2 Open Field

  • 3.2.1 Preparing a Field

  • 3.2.2 Watering

  • 3.2.3 Greenhouse

  • 3.2.4 Plastic Sheet

  • 3.3 Open Source Ecology

  • 4 The Organic Way

  • 4.1 Organic Pesticide Solutions

  • 4.2 Organic Fertilizers

  • 4.3 Compost

  • 4.4 Crop rotation

  • 4.4.1 Nitrogen fixation in legumes grown under irrigation of 8 inches of H2O/yr

  • 5 Farm Animals

  • 5.1 Bees

  • 5.1.1 Design

  • 5.1.2 Outer cover

  • 5.1.3 Inner cover

  • 5.1.4 Hive body and hive super

  • 5.1.5 Bottom board

  • 5.2 Chickens

  • 5.3 Goats

  • 5.4 Sheep

  • 5.5 Aquaculture

  • 5.6 Cows

  • 5.7 Donkeys

  • 5.8 Rabbits

  • 5.9 Animal Medicine

  • 6 Canning and Pickling

  • 6.1 Canning Process

  • 6.2 Processing Times

  • 7 AgriBiz and Seeds

General Farming

First, you need seeds. Most seed packets cost about a dollar, and can contain hundreds of seeds. More hardy plants, like squash, can go for about 15 cents a seed. Almost all packets have growing facts printed right on them, including best climate, harvest periods, and even how to plant them in the ground. Most harvest periods for solid, edible crops range from only 50 days to about 100 days. Be sure to look to see what seasons are recommended to grow your crops in and where to plant them. After replanting the hardier plants from your seedlings into the ground, most just need about a foot or two between each plant. Even a backyard a few yards across and a few yards deep, if devoted to your new plants, can yield enough food at harvest time to feed yourself for a few weeks.

Remember to rotate which crops you plant seasonally. If you only plant one type of plant in the same row for a few seasons, you risk severely damaging the soil and depleting it of various minerals. Try to first add crops that can be brought into operation in a few months so you can start cutting your food budget rather than for example waiting years for an orchard.

Be sure to contact your nearby university with an ag program they are chartered to run extension services by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in furtherance of the Acts of Congress of May 8 and June 30, 1914.

What to grow

Plan for complete nutrition, this means something like corn and beans or potatoes and beans, some of the the natives of what many call North America, before they had their land taken at gunpoint, would base their agriculture on “the three sisters” corn, gourds, and beans. The corn stalk provided a pole for the beans to climb on to grab sunlight and the low crawling squash or pumpkins would keep the weeds at bay. Remember to either rotate or move fields every season to keep infestation and soil burn out minimized.

  • Roots

Root vegetables are easy to grow and have high food content per acre. The potato fed the Irish until the blight sent them packing to new shores due in part to lack of crop rotation.

Potatoes are one of the easiest plants to grow without access to a plot of land. The most important step is to acquire good quality seeds/eyes. You can often use a potatoes from the supermarket, unless they have been treated with chemicals to prevent eyes from forming, let them sit for a few weeks to see if they sprout. Most big box stores with a “garden” section will also have one or two varieties in early spring. Carrots, beets, and onions are also pretty easy to grow from seed.

Acquire a large garbage can or other large container and clean it out with a 1:5 ratio of bleach and water to kill any molds and fungi. When you are finished punch a half dozen holes in the bottom for drainage. Put about four to six inches/ten to fifteen centimeters of soil in the bottom. If necessary, cut the seeds up so that there are two to three on each piece. Place the seeds or eye sprouts on top on the surface of the soil, eyes up. Some suggest soaking the seeds beforehand others say dry them out to prevent rotting and others yet say don’t do anything at all. Look at the package in your hands and see what it says and then use the grey matter between your ears. If something doesn’t work do the other next year. Cover the seeds and keep the soil watered but not soaked, about an inch a week. Once the plants have grown about six to eight inches/fifteen to twenty centimeters cover the bottom third with soil. Continue adding soil whenever you get some new growth until the plants begin to flower. It is essential to keep the “seeds” and/or tubers covered with soil as exposure to the sun will cause them to turn green. Never eat any green part of a potato or potato plant, they are poisonous. You can harvest these as new potatoes or wait. Your choice. Once the flowering is over and the plants start to yellow stop watering. Wait a few weeks for the potatoes to settle and dig them up.

Optional variants: Use sawdust (non-pressure treated wood) and feed with liquid kelp or compost tea whenever you add a layer.

see Camping for wilderness potato growing.

  • Gourds

Most types of squash are good for carb filler food in typical meat dishes, such as chili. Cut up gourds and pumpkins are good in soups or as a filler for pies.

  • Corn

Corn is starch and sugar rich and can be dried and ground up for cornbread and stews in the winter.

  • Beans

Beans are high in protein and usually easy to grow, eat whole or shell out the inner seeds and dry in the sun for storage. Combined with rice you have a complete if boring diet since beans are rich in protien. Their roots have nodules that actually add nitrogen to the soil so they are very useful in crop rotation plans, allowing nitrogen grabbers like wheat to thrive the next growing season..

  • Grains

If you have a large field at least an acre you might try growing wheat, oats or barley. Once you harvest the wheat you need to be able to cut down, de-hull, and thresh away the chaff. See alsoCaching andCheap Chow

  • Bamboo

Bamboo is of the grass family but the wood can be used in place of trees. The stalks are quick growing, strong, and lightweight. Bamboo can be grown from a cutting placed in water and once roots sprout potted. Bamboo will take over a yard if allowed so caution must be used in planting especially near a water source. Bamboo rots quickly if allowed to remain damp. Young tender bamboo shoots are tasty if cooked.

  • Blackberries

Blackberry briar’s not only provide supplemental food for pies or juices but it is also an excellent barrier plant, literally a quick growing spiky living protection. Blackberries grow quickly and care must be take to prevent overgrowth especially in wet climates or near water. Be careful not to overeat on berries as it can cause diarrhea. Blackberries are an excellent food to jar for winter desserts.

  • Hay

If you harvest hay during the fall and keep it dry you can feed your livestock during the winter, store feed is expensive. Be sure the hay is well protected and dry. Hay that is harvested green or gets damp will compost generating temperatures high enough to start a fire, this is a serious danger for hay kept in a barn or near an animal pen. Your goats and other livestock will help you determine which grass is the best hay by constantly grazing near their favorites.

Farming Techniques

If you have access to the internet a search on the US Government ERIC system should hopefully still find you a copy of the Remote Areas Development Manual (http://eric.ed.gov.nyud.net/ERICWebPortal/custom/portlets/recordDetails/detailmini.jsp? accno=ED242881) It is one of the most useful farming and village life handbooks available especially if you can find the printed pocket size. It covers everything from fertilizer to blacksmithing to medical care everything a Peace Corps worker would need, and since it is a US FedGov publication there is no copyright on it, share, edit, print, and repurpose it!


If you can not access a piece of soil for a whole season fear not, you can still bring in a nice crop without spending too much money. You will probably want to find a place with good soil and a wheelbarrow to transport it to your alternate cement slab gardening area.

Guerrilla Farming

Our revolutionary warriors need never use violence to feed the people. By building an arsenal of seed bombs even the ignorant people can be equipped for the coming changes, plus this is fun to do even if you are mobile and have no garden of your own. Just mix one part clay, three parts compost, and edible vegetable seeds, soften with water, and roll into small balls. Deploy in any open areas. Easy to grow crops include onions, peas, beans, beets, rutabaga, squash, potato, and zucchini. Aim your bombs for areas that have the right sun/shade ratio and moisture, avoid mowed areas where the crops will be killed.

Tire Farming

A stack of tires filled with soil is the start of a vertical farm. Plant between the tires and wedge small openings for your plants. The tires help conserve water and space and are especially good for growing root vegetables.

Trash sack

Fill a double NON-biodegradable trash sack with soil and twist the top shut in a loose knot. Some people like to put a burlap sack or other cover over this to protect the plastic from sun damage and overheating the roots. Plant your seeds through small melted through holes so the double bag will stay joined and make slits over the holes through any cover. Water through the top to keep the soil moisture up, if done properly there should be little waste through evaporation. If planting on a paved surface you may need to shade your crops and water a little during the day because black top absorbs so much heat and might kill your roots.

Open Field

Even in urban areas it is often possible to find a real piece of land with soil that you can grow on. The best soil is often found in urban areas which started as farming colonies over a hundred years ago.

Preparing a Field

A new piece of land needs to be prepped before seeding. Choose a location near the bottom of a downslope or at the bottom of a valley, a place that is already green most of the year, this means there is water near the surface. Alternatively plant near a source of irrigation water, but choose wisely surface water is controlled by the government. Unless you can arrange drainage or plant swamp reduction trees over time avoid swamps or areas known to flood which could destroy a whole crop. If the area is very weed infested you might consider a controlled burn off but be careful this can lead to erosion of your priceless topsoil, quickly planting clover will enrich and anchor the topsoil. First off remove all large rocks down to fist size to at least six inches deep, worldwide the solution is to build stone fences around the field to get rid of these rocks. Add mulch and compost to enrich the soil, this will also encourage earthworms who aerate the soil. Turn over the soil and mulch, whether it is a cow pulled plough or a motorized rototiller you need to turn over and soften packed soil. Clay retains moisture but can become very hard, sand helps drainage but washes away easily, you need the correct mix for water conditions as well as good organic mass and nutrients to feed your crops.


The trick to watering a garden is to water it around dawn or dusk, when the plants are still warm, or about to get warmer, and to water until it starts to flood. Too little water, and you’re only hurting the plant by teasing it. Too much will erode the soil, but this takes a lot of water. If you’re in an area where it gets below freezing at night, water your plants before it gets there, then cover them with a blanket or tarp. Ice makes a surprisingly good insulator, and the blankets do too.

One of the best sources of free water is your roof gutters, it is best to store this in a rain barrel or cistern since the rain is already watering your garden that day, use the stored water on a dry evening. Replumbing your residence to store your shower and sink water for evening may supply your whole irrigation budget. Also look for ways to catch the runoff from parking lots and driveways, an artificial pond is one way to save this water.


PVC pipe and UV Plastic sheet are almost all you need to start a greenhouse, saving you water and increasing crops. It is important that the clear plastic you use will resist degradation, ask at a garden or hardware shop. Choose a site with well drained soil. If you will be growing only in summer build under the shade of a tree to reduce overheating, but place in direct sun if you plan to grow full life cycle plantings, shade cloth or white plastic can substitute for natural shade if overheating is a problem. Use environmental friendly ground contact pressure treated wood like CCA, untreated wood will rot quickly. When leveling the frame on uneven ground dig a trench on the upper side which will be easier to seal. The large 4x4 posts are to keep the greenhouse anchored in wind. Use Schedule 80 Pipe if possible, other pipe will be weaker. The mid rib PVC pipe is cut into about 22 Z? in long pieces and rejoined with the cross joints. EMT tubing in the mid-rib (number 14) or spine strengthens the rejoined tube. Use two or more people when bending and anchoring the PVC ribs into the EMT strap loops(number 4) to prevent damage to the joints and ribs. Stapling down the plastic cover is the best way to attach it, allow some extra plastic to extend and be covered with dirt to help make a seal. Find some old garden hoses and punch drip holes or use drip irrigation tube, it will stay under the ground sheet for drip irrigation. Lay down ground sheet plastic and punch holes for your baby plants, or a few inches of sand or gravel, these limit mud and weed problems. Bury the edges of the greenhouse plastic with soil or sand, it is important that the edges be sealed to keep rainwater and moles out. Even in the coldest weather be careful that a small heater or heat lamp doesn’t overheat the greenhouse, in summer open the door if overheating. This greenhouse design will support four inches of snow, if there is more snow add additional prop supports Connect twine hanging from the ribs for vine and soft plants. As the plants grow help them twist around the twine for easier vertical growth. This works great for cucumbers, beans, and tomatoes. Flowers and food for sale can be grown year round in most areas. If you need more room extend the length of the greenhouse following this design, a wider frame will be weak in wind and snow. If you need to save money leave out the door but keep the door frame and use overlapping plastic flaps.

Illustrations and design courtesy of North Carolina State Cooperative Extension Service, modified for Steal This Book Today

Bill of Materials (print and take to the hardware store)

  • Item Qty. Description

  • 1- 16- % in. PVC Schedule 80 Pipe, 10 ft long

  • 2- 6- % in. PVC Cross Joints, Schedule 80

  • 3- 2- % in. PVC Tee Joints, Schedule 80

  • 4- 32- % in. Galvanized electrical metallic tubing (EMT) Straps

  • 5- 2- 2”x6”x14” Outdoor Treated No. 2 Pine Boards

  • 6- 2- 2”x6”x12” Outdoor Treated No. 2 Pine Boards

  • 7- 4- 2”x4”x7” Outdoor Treated No. 2 Pine Boards

  • 8- 4- 2”x4”x6” Outdoor Treated No. 2 Pine Boards

  • 9- 4- 4”x4”x2” Outdoor Treated No. 2 Pine Boards

  • 10- 2- 2”x4”x3” Outdoor Treated No. 2 Pine Boards

  • 11- 2- 1”x4”x12” Outdoor Treated No. 2 Pine Boards (to cut up for door parts)

  • 12- 1- Set of door Hinges

  • 13- 1- Sheet of Plastic 24 ft x 20 ft, 4 mil thickness

  • 14- 1- ‘A in.x 10ft. Galvanized Electrical Metallic Tubing

  • 15- 1- PVC cleaner

  • 16- 1- PVC cement

  • 17- — misc nails, screws, and staples


Plastic Sheet

In your greenhouse, an open field, or a small garden, bury old perforated garden hose or irrigation tube under black UV plastic sheet, cut or poke holes for your plants or seeds, this will reduce the need for herbicides and weeding and save huge amounts of irrigation water.

Open Source Ecology

This wiki is dedicated to the open, collaborative development of a basic and robust infrastructure for a Global Village economy, as embodied in the list of the 28 of the above products and services. Such a village is by design

  • one which promotes the highest autonomy and freedom

  • grounded in self-sufficiency

  • dedicated to voluntary pursuits, right livelihood, and quality of life

The basic assumption for a New Village economy is that humans are capable of transcending struggle for survival and resource conflicts, where this preoccupation is replaced by higher pursuits of personal and societal evolution.

At the time of this writing several of the core projects are in testing phase but together should form the core of a fully self sufficient settlement avoiding many pitfalls of depending on globalist commerce.


The Organic Way

As various studies can show, you don’t need to dump fertilizers and pesticides on your plants to have a thriving farm/garden. The organic methods of gardening really took off in the 70’s when many of the hippies, yippies, and yuppies took to the country in order to have a cheaper and peaceful life. After the conservative era of the 80’s, and the party era of the 90’s, people really began finding the advantages of growing organically in the last few years.

Organic Pesticide Solutions

When using even mild pest removers remember to wash your foods, there are all kinds of things in the soil and compost that could give you a rough few days and cause you to loose a great deal of nutrients through diarrhea. Always use safe drinking water to wash your food, wash your hands, and wash your plates and utensils.

  • Rotenone is the extract from the roots and stems of several tropical and subtropical plant species belonging to the genus Lonchocarpus or Derris. It was first used as a fish poison; its powder is an effective pesticide and is only moderately toxic to humans, birds, and mammals. Rotenone is allowed by most organic certifying agencies.

  • Tobacco leaf extract can be made as a tea from tobacco leaves which you can also grow in your garden. Spray the tobacco leaf tea onto your plants, one cup of shredded tobacco leaf to one gallon of water. Do not use on pepper (capsicum), eggplant (aubergine), or tomato (to-MAH-to) plants as this carries a very high risk of infecting your plants with tobacco mosaic virus. Nicotine from the tobacco tea is mildly toxic.

  • One clove garlic and 2 tablespoons cayenne pepper crushed and soaked in warm water will work effectively: filter and spray onto plants.

  • Mild soap solution (preferably an organic, vegetable-oil based soap) sprayed onto plants will often repel pests, as well as remove pre-existing insects. A mild salt solution often works too, but avoid spraying it onto your soil.

  • Most plants with strong odors or sharp flavor have these attributes to repel insects, try alone or in combination to eliminate insect problems.

  • Avoid planting the same type plant in the same location year after year. Also, remove and burn dead plants in the winter time to prevent providing a comfy winter home for insects.

  • Ladybugs are very effective at eating aphids, those tiny lime green bugs which attack leaves, ladybugs are available at most garden stores.

Organic Fertilizers

Organic farmers use animal manure, manufactured seed meal, home and garden compost, and mulching as well as several natural mineral powders like rock phosphate and greensand, a naturally occurring form of potash. Used tea leaves are very good for restoring nutrients to the soil. What else would you do with them anyway? Straw can also be used super effectively as an organic mulch.


Composting is the natural breakdown and return to soil of organic wastes such as garden and kitchen wastes. It is best to keep your home composting to the waste of vegetarian animals and vegetable matter, meat and dairy require higher composting temperatures, consider burying this waste instead. Once the composting is under way, start a new bin or pile and use the older heaps for garden fertilizer. Composted vegetable matter is even more important than nitrogen sources like manure for feeding your plants.

If you are involved in a food co-op or something similar, such as a commune, or even a group of like-minded individuals living on your street, you should designate someone as the official composter. Sending all of your organic waste to the compost cuts down on your waste output as well as that of the whole world. Once the compost batch is done, distribute it out to those growing food.

Most coffee places especially if asked will bag their used coffee grounds for people who want to use them to add to their soil. It’s 100% free, and can be a great additive to your soil.

Crop rotation

Some crops like wheat will remove nitrogen and nutrients from the soil, while others actually increase available nutrients. It is important to remember that one crop grown continually will burn out a field and will attract pest infestation. Some examples of good rotations to improve overall soil nutrition are alternating rice then cotton, or soybeans then maize, old Europe farmers planted rye the first year, oats or barley the next year and nothing the third year. The Irish potato famine could have been prevented had crop rotation been used. Sweet-clover is a great fallow cover crop with very high nitrogen fixation but be careful as it can cause bloat in some animals if they get into it. Also remember to use all available compost and green manure to improve soil nutrition. Chemical herbicides and pesticides can kill the nitrate fixing bacteria in the roots of your plants. Here are some vegetables that do well when they are planted together: beans-potatoes; peas-carrots; peas-turnips; cabbage-beets; kohlrabi-beets; spinach-cauliflower; spinach-eggplant; corncucumbers and corn-beans.

Nitrogen fixation in legumes grown under irrigation of 8 inches of H2O/yr

Crop — Nitrogen Fixed Symbiotically (lb N/ac)

  • Sweet-Clover — 223

  • Fababean — 267 (Must have proper irrigation or nitrogen fixation drops greatly)

  • Field Pea — 178

  • Lentil — 134

  • Soybean — 134

  • Chickpea — 108 (good in dry soil)

  • Dry bean — 62

When we grow tired of war as a species there will be a great surplus of explosives and gunpowder, when the time comes consult a soil chemist as to which powders and explosives can be safely turned into valuable non-toxic nitrogen fertilizer.

Farm Animals


A fun way to commune with nature and help out your own crops is to start and run a bee hive. Try to be organic in your bee farm by not using weird chemicals. Bees like to stay in one place. Don’t bother them by constantly moving their hive or smoking them. Leave them part of their honey for food. Don’t completely substitute corn syrup.

A web search will turn out several good designs for beehives but the basic idea is a stackable wooden box with a small entry at the bottom and vents toward the top. Proper design allows enough ventilation for easy cooling in summer but closed enough that the bees can keep warm in winter as well as easy regulation of humidity, if your hive doesn’t address these design issues the bees will have to waste energy fixing the problem thereby consuming more honey and and spending less effort collecting. Honey comb frames are slotted into the the box and beeswax sheet is attached to these frames, be sure there is gap enough for the bees to add honey or larva cells. Bees are calmed with a smoker, it knocks them out, a brush helps knock off the stragglers. You carefully remove your frames once they are full of honey and press it out, keep enough wax to roll out and restart a new honeycomb sheet. You can make a bee keepers hat by putting a drawstring around a mosquito net and wearing it over a wide brim hat, gloves and long sleeves, closed collar with scarf or tie, and long trousers to reduce skin exposed to stings. Expect to get stung occasionally as you raid for honey.



The Langstroth bee hive is made up from top to bottom of:

  • Telescoping cover or migratory cover

  • Inner Cover

  • 1 or more hive body / hive bodies or honey supers made of wood, polystyrene, or plastic

  • (optional) queen excluder between brood box and honey supers

  • 8–10 Frames made of wood or plastic per hive body or honey super

  • Foundation made of wax and wires or plastic

  • Bottom Board with optional entrance reducer

Outer cover

This is a wooden or polystyrene cover that fits on the top of the hive. In the north, where the cover usually telescopes down around the inner cover and an inch or so down over the top super, it is called a telescoping cover. Many commercial beekeepers use what is called a migratory cover, which is a solid cover that does not extend beyond the sides of a hive body.

Inner cover

The inner cover provides a barrier between the telescoping cover and the bees. In the more temperate climates a plastic foil may be used as an inner cover. (It is not wise to winter bees under plastic foil, as the hive would become wet and bees can be lost easily). In areas with a hot summer a solid inner cover with a communication hole provides dead air space for insulation against heat and cold. It prevents the bees from gluing the top cover to the top bars of the super under it. With an inner cover, the top cover is easy to remove from the hive. When the frame of the solid inner cover and telescoping cover is notched it can serve as a top entrance for the bees. A communication hole in the middle allows bees to reach emergency food placed above by the beekeeper if it becomes required.

Granulated sugar can be poured onto the inner cover near the hole and the bees will be able to get to it during even the coldest of days.

Hive body and hive super

Hive bodies and hive supers are four-sided boxes with standardized inside dimensions. There are generally four different sizes. Outside box dimensions vary depending on the type of material used. Polystyrene boxes have much larger outside dimensions than boxes made out of wood. Deep and medium hive bodies are provided to serve as the brood chamber, the part of the hive where the queen lays eggs and the bees care for the larvae. Medium, shallow and comb honey supers are used for honey stores and to harvest the honey. The inside width is 14 11/16 inches (373 mm) and the inside length is 18 5/16 inches (465 mm). The frames rest on a rabbeted side along both ends of each box.

The deep hive body is normally used only for brood as it becomes too heavy to manually handle if it is filled with honey. Commercial operations usually use one or two deep hive bodies for brood and additional shallow hive components for honey supers. Most hobbyists prefer to standardize on all mediums. Shallow supers are not ideal for the brood chamber of the hive because the bees need to form a single compact sphere during the cold winter months — a sphere that can expand and contract without being divided by a horizontal plane in the middle caused by the gaps between combs in multiple hive bodies.


Deep body

Medium (Illinois) super

Shallow super

Comb super


9 9/16 inches (243 mm)

6 5/8 inches (168 mm)

5 3/4 inches (146 mm)

4 3/4 inches (121 mm)

Frame length

19 inches (483 mm)

19 inches (483 mm)

19 inches (483 mm)

19 inches (483 mm)

Frame depth

9 1/8 inches (232 mm)

6 1/4 inches (159 mm)

5 3/8 inches (137 mm)

4 1/8 inches (105 mm)

Frame width

1 1/8 inches (29 mm)

1 1/8 inches (29 mm)

1 1/8 inches (29 mm)

1 1/8 inches (29 mm)

The hive body or hive super holds 8–10 frames that are standardized in length. The frames hold the foundation and the honeycomb that is built on it.

Bottom board

The bottom board supports the hive. It must be strong to hold the weight of a hive that is filled with honey. The hive weight may exceed 300 pounds (140 kg). The bottom board is the floor of the hive with a 3/4 inch (2 cm) rim around three sides to allow the bees to enter the hive on one side. It also extends 2 inches (5 cm) in front of the boxes to provide a landing board for the bees. Because it is close to moisture in the soil, it is the first to show any sign of decay or rot and it is advisable to use bottom boards constructed of cedar wood. When the hive body sits on the bottom board the provided opening is 14 11/16 by 3/4 inches (37.3 by 1.9 cm). This opening may be suitable for a strong bee hive during the summer but it also may be reduced with a hive entrance reducer when necessary. A reduced opening allows a weaker hive to defend itself and prevents mice and cold winds from entering the hive.

Many bee keepers have screened bottom boards instead of solid bottom boards to aid in hive hygiene, air circulation and to screen for diseases. Some beekeepers add a slatted rack between the bottom board and the hive body. A slatted rack helps the queen in establishing brood comb closer to the entrance of the hive.


Even if you only have a small available run area, like an urban rooftop, raising chickens will help eliminate some bugs and provide you with eggs. Use a bright light after laying to shine through and find the unfertilized eggs if there is a rooster around. Unfertilized eggs will rot if not harvested. Have a dark box for the hen to lay in otherwise she will hide and bury the eggs, be sure to get the unfertilized eggs before the hen eats them which many hens do when not brooding, keep putting the hen in the box until she nests there. Let your chickens run wild if possible, as they will usually stay near the feed. Ducks, quail, pheasants, and peacock are also fun to raise for eggs. These birds can live off of fresh compost bin stuff, cracked grains and corn in winter. Placing a bright light over their run will tell their bodies to produce eggs even in winter, be sure to feed them enough that egg laying will not overtax their bodies, most hens produce an egg once a day or every other day. Save the high nitrogen manure soil for fertilizer. In an apartment with a balcony or rooftop lay a few square meters of soil on a tarp and provide shade. Chicken hens are fun safe pets for kids but teach them to not abuse them.

It is still possible to order chickens and other farm birds in the mail, do a web search, or take a drive to the country and visit a feed store, a rare pet shop might be able to help you. After Easter go door to door collecting live colour dyed chicks to raise for your brood, most of these will be male throw-away chicks, which is OK if you are a carnivore and plan to kill them anyway for food.

Speaking of killing, use a big knife or hatchet to behead your birds, hopefully a very quick death after a healthy free range life. Pluck the bird before opening, some people like to quickly dip the dead bird in a bucket of boiling water to loosen the feathers, although this will alter the taste. Cut open the abdomen and remove the guts, give them a quick look to make sure they are smooth and glistening, otherwise the bird might be sick, most guts are good for use in cooking, don’t waste them. If you are still hungry after this, bon-apetit.


Goats are smart, probably as smart as a dog when compared to dumb sheep, they need stimulation to keep them out of trouble, once bucks (males) mature they can sometimes get aggressive depending on breed. Goat does (females) will start giving milk after having their first litter of kids, there are very small pygmy goats that still produce one to two liters of milk a day if they are fed well. Goats will eat almost anything and are useful for clearing a yard of blackberry overgrowth and mowing the lawn. But they will also tear plastic parts from cars, rubber tires, house siding, nails, and other non healthy things if they are too close, especially if they are bored and have nothing else to do. They will also eat a rope if they are tied up. They are less able to survive solely on scraps and also need hay if there is not grass to eat. As with chickens they need place to be free and they like a high place to stand on sometimes. Some goats can be trimmed for wool.


Domestic sheep are friendly although a little dumb, they need a lot of help which a smart sheep dog will provide. The natural maternal instincts of a Shepard dog pushes them to herd and protect these sweet dumb animals. Pick a breed that won’t be too hot in your climate. Once a sheep has lambs you can start milking the sheep. Shear sheep right before hot weather sets in. Sheep are too dumb to move if they have eaten all of the grass and will mow an area bare, don’t let your sheep cause erosion problems, keep them moving.


If you have a pond where you live or if you can lay down a plastic liner in a depression in the ground you can start raising fish and aquatic plants. You can start by stocking fast growing fish which you either catch or buy and then introduce them into your pond and feed them. You will need to watch water temperature and aeration (oxygen) as well as pH so you fish will survive. Adding aquatic plants both helps feed and oxygenate the tank the plants are also fed by the fish. Chicken wire fence will help keep robber animals like raccoons from stealing the fish.


American size cows take up too many resources to be practical. If used as a tractor to pull a plow or wagon having a cow might be justified. Cows are easily seen from the road by agriculture dpt. inspectors, a problem once compulsory animal registration is enforced.


A donkey is a great choice for a labor helper animal. They are usually gentle and sweet if treated well. Horses are mostly a wasteful extravagance in both food and care, you can walk while the donkey pulls a cart or carries a proper load. A harness or saddle must be fitted by someone trained in this skill, always check for rubbing and soreness. Never ride or work a new donkey until you have taken him to a veterinarian for a checkup.


Rabbits are the workhorse of meat animals. Two females (does) and one male (buck) can produce enough offspring in a year to provide at least one meal a week for a small family. Rabbits can be fed hay, commercially produced pellets, or vegetable scraps. Dietary changes should be made gradually to avoid gastric upset. Pelts can be tanned using salt/alum or even brain tanned.

Animal Medicine

Merck & Company, one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies, offers an on-line version of its book, The Merck Veterinary Manual:http://www.merckvetmanual.com/mvm/index.jsp. You can also buy the 2,700 page print version from the usual sources.

Canning and Pickling

REFERENCE: Complete Guide to Home Canning, Extension Service, USDA, 1994.

If you have a good harvest from your greenhouse or if you want to preserve a particularly good dumpster haul you should consider home canning. Canning is a way to preserve food by heating and killing bacteria and then sealing the food in with special lids so no new bacteria can enter ruin it. Most canned foods last around a year although the more acidity the longer the life even if the acid removes some nutrients. If you can find glass jars that fit canning lids it is OK to use them for canning as long as there are no chips around the rim and that there are no hairline cracks anywhere, but real canning jars are always the best. The very best canning system is to use a pressure cooker, this vessel might be expensive if you get a proper model capable of the 15psi, they might also be hard to find, especially in tough times, but watch thrift stores for deals but know how to recognize good form the cheap low pressure models. We will only discuss hot water bath canning which requires only a container of hot water at a minimum. As with many subjects that we cover read up on the subject before starting, we only cover the very basics.

Many stores sell canning lids, these lids have a special compound which seals to the jar rim. DO NOT REUSE jar lids, they are not designed to seal twice, especially do not reuse the screw on lids from store foods, these are just not safe. Jar lids are inexpensive and there is normally no reason to substitute. Most lids have sealing compounds that can be shelf stored five years from date of manufacture and after that may not seal properly. Some older books recommend using wax as a sealing compound for reusing lids on jams and jellies, this is not the best as the seal is questionable it often allows mold in.

If normal canning you food is not possible due to lack of proper lids and jars we suggest cutting the food into thin strips and sun drying fruits and veggies under a fly net or salting and smoking or oven drying meat and fish at around 100C(212F) until the meat is hard. Improper canning is a waste of your food, it will spoil, although cold vinegar and salt pickling in a reused clean jar should work for a few months on boiled eggs, and raw or slow cooked fish, and meats.

Always use your senses to tell you if the seal is good on your stored foods

  • Is the lid sucked down, and does it pop when you open it, or is it bulging from rot?

  • Is the coloration normal or do you see unusual spots or discoloration

  • Does the food smell wrong?

If any of these or something else makes you suspicious throw the food out, there is no reason to poison yourself, your friends, or pets with botulism, molds, or other toxins from improperly canned food.

The only foods that may be safely canned in an boiling water bath (non-pressure cooker method) are highly acidic ones with a pH below 4.6, such as fruits, pickled vegetables, or other foods to which acidic additives have been added, such as vinegar, citric acid powder, ascorbic acid, or lemon juice.

Canning Process

Here is what to do:

  • Pack food firmly into jars. Leave 1/2 inch headspace at the top of the jar.

Note: Some fruits will need to be precooked before packing into jars. This is called the “hot pack” method. To “hot pack,” the fruit is brought to a boil in the syrup, juice, or water, cooked briefly, and packed into hot jars. Hot liquid is poured over the fruit. Hot packing helps to prevent fruit from floating in the jar.

  • Pour boiling fruit juice, water, or syrup over the fruit in the jar. Fill within 1/2 inch of the top of the jar. Run a non-metal knife or spatula along the inside of the jar to remove air bubbles. Wipe off the top of the jar rim with a clean cloth.

  • Place hot sealing lid on packed jar next to glass. Screw band on jar until just tight.

The canner(or large pot) should be covered during processing. The hot boiling water should cover the tops of the jars during the entire processing time.

After processing time is completed, remove hot jars and place on a towel or rack to cool. Keep jars out of drafts. DO NOT TURN JARS UPSIDE DOWN. When jars have cooled, check for sealing.

Processing Times

Processing Times For High-Acid Foods Using A Boiling Water Bath Canner (212° F)

Fruits & Vegetables | Pints(1/2 l) | Quarts(Liter) |

Apples (hot pack) 20 minutes 20 minutes
Apricots (raw pack) 25 30
Berries (raw pack) 15 20
Cherries (raw pack) 20 25
Dill Pickles (raw pack) 10 15
Sweet Pickles (raw pack) 10 15

{Fruit Juices (hot pack) | 15 | 15 |

iFruit Jams and Jellies 10 10
{Peaches (hot pack) 20 25
jPears (hot pack) 20 25
{Plums (hot pack) 20 25
{Pickle Relish (hot pack) 10
•Rhubarb (hot pack) 10 10
{Tomatoes (hot pack) 35 45
jTomato Juice (hot pack) 35 40 — If using the raw pack method, have the water in the canner hot, not boiling. Placing raw pack jars in boiling water may cause the jars to break.
  • If the rack does not have handles, leave the rack in the canner and place the jars in the rack using a jar lifter.

  • When fruit is hot packed the fruit is heated before it is placed in the jar. Raw packed fruit is not heated, but it is still covered with boiling liquid.

  • Tomatoes are normally considered to be an acid food. However, some varieties may have pH values above 4.6. Therefore, if tomatoes are to be canned as acid foods, they must be acidified with lemon juice or citric acid. Add 2 tablespoons of bottled lemon juice or 1/2 teaspoon of citric acid per quart of tomatoes. For pints, use 1 tablespoon bottled lemon juice or 1/4 teaspoon of citric acid.

AgriBiz and Seeds

It can’t be stressed enough that corporately designed and patented GMO seeds will grow GMO crops. Sadly, there are a number of seed companies that are owned by the largest agricultural businesses with the illusion that they are independently owned. Six companies (Aventis, Dow, Du Pont, Mitsui, Monsanto and Syngent) reportedly control 98 percent of the world’s seeds. On every continent, these companies are opening research facilities and acquiring local seed companies.

The following is a list of seed brands that are known to sell GMO seeds (as compiled by Garden-Of-Eatin.com at://www.garden-of- eatin.com/how-to-avoid-monsanto/)

  • Audubon Workshop, Breck’s Bulbs, Burpee, Cook’s Garden, Dege Garden Center, Earl May Seed, E & R Seed Co., Flower of the Month Club, Ferry Morse, Garden Trends, Gardens Alive, Germania Seed Co., HPS, Jungs, Lindenberg Seeds, McClure & Zimmerman Quality Bulb Brokers, Mountain Valley Seed, Osborne, Park Bulbs, Park Seed, Park’s Countryside Garden, Rocky Mountain Seed Co., Roots and Rhizomes, Rupp, Seeds for the World, Seymour’s Selected Seeds, R.H. Shumway, Snow, Stokes, Spring Hill Nurseries, T&T Seeds, Tomato Growers Supply, Totally Tomato, Vermont Bean Seed Co., Wayside Gardens, Willhite Seed Co.

The Council for Responsible Genetics maintains a “Safe Seed Resource List” of non-GMO seed dealers in the USA, Canada and France, complete with addresses, phone numbers and website links:

The following books contain information on saving seeds for future harvests:

  • Basic Seed Saving by Bill McDorman

  • Breed Your Own Vegetable Varieties: The Gardener’s & Farmer’s Guide to Plant Breeding & Seed Saving by Carol Deppe

  • Heirloom Vegetable Gardening: A Master Gardener’s Guide to Planting, Seed Saving, and Cultural History by William Woys Weave

  • Saving Seeds: The Gardener’s Guide to Growing and Storing Vegetable and Flower Seeds by Marc Rogers and Polly Alexander

  • Saving Seeds As If Our Lives Depended On It by Dan Jason

  • Seed Sowing and Saving: Step-by-Step Techniques for Collecting and Growing More Than 100 Vegetables, Flowers, and Herbs by Carole B. Turner

  • Seed to Seed: Seed Saving and Growing Techniques for Vegetable Gardeners by Suzanne Ashworth and Kent Whealy

  • The Zero Mile Diet: A Year-round Guide to Growing Organic Food by Carolyn Herriot

3. Free Clothing

Corpgov propaganda posted in the break room walls and employee handbooks are more than happy to tell you how to dress. A name tag usually must be worn at all times so they know who to punish if a member of the upper middle class is somehow offended by your presence. Shoes are to be clean and only certain color slacks or skirts and socks are to be worn. More advanced slaves are required to wear ties and jackets. For many, this is a continuation of institutional life that is common in schools, work places, and prisons. Of course, none of this applies to “the man”. He can walk in with a Hawaiian shirt and tennis shorts if he wishes while talking to the 20 year old intern he is cheating with behind his battleaxe wife on his cell phone while walking through the halls. He will get his pit bull manager to fire you for a bad attitude if you bring this up, though. Firing folks himself is beneath him and interferes with golf, wine, and church.

Some people rebel against this in their “free time” (which really only is free because it costs your employer nothing). Taking their cue from the only free source of information they see in daily life, they try to imitate artists, musicians, actors, and models. Maybe they think that through osmosis that by dressing like those that have lots of freedom, they may appear to be free too. But, this is an illusion. All the stars where chosen by agents of BigMedia through a sort of fucked up lottery. The style and fashion of the stars is not picked by the stars but by large clothing firms that sell being able to dress like you are free to the masses. Indeed, some of these “fashions” are really silly and many not very utilitarian outside of the fake social event world or certain scenes and subcultures.

But, fear not. We here at STW have your back with good field tested advice from the pros. Plus, you will not have to pay us 100 USD for jeans with “STEALTHISWIKI” embroidered in 4 inch letters across your ass that we paid 12 year olds in China 3 USD a day to do in a sweat shop.


  • 1 Getting Clothes

  • 1.1 Charity

  • 1.2 Thrift Stores

  • 1.3 Big Box Stores

  • 1.4 Hand Me Downs

  • 1.5 Layering

  • 1.6 Donate and Give Back

  • 1.7 Make and Repair your Own

  • 2 Clothing Insights

  • 3 Outdoor Clothing

  • 4 Walking Billboards

  • 5 Shoes

  • 6 Work Uniforms

  • 7 Hidden Pockets

  • 8 Deodorant and Hygiene

Getting Clothes

Of course, this is “Free Clothes”, and we would not be doing our part without telling you how to get some.


If you are absolutely destitute or can play the part, The Salvation Army has been known to let folks get some clothes. But, like any “charity”, there is a chance of some off handed remark, questions into your judgment or character, or a small dose of Jesus that may not apply to your situation at all. Other times, they may actually show some compassion and dignity and let you have something no questions asked. Women and youth tend to get a bit better treatment. Do not expect it to be anything that will win you any modeling competitions or impress the bohemian coffee shop crowd with your fashion sense.. But, some guys’ old faded Super Bowl Champion jacket from 10 seasons ago will keep your ass from freezing off till you can get something better or summer comes again.

Thrift Stores

Thrift Stores are a great resource. Often, these are run by the above mentioned “charities”.However, it is hit or miss. The quality of the goods really depends on the area, what time they get donations in, and how many folks pick the place clean each week. Of course, this is after the workers pick through the best stuff! The problem with thrift stores is that when the middle class “donates”, much of the time they are only dumping off their trash. But we know that one mans trash can be our treasure sometimes. It is common in thrift stores to find aisles of nothing but 4 year old tee shirts from an old advertising campaign to sell stuff to the lower class and pants that are either way too big or too small. Common sizes of stuff with no advertising tends to move quickly. You really have to search to find gems. Nice stuff like suit coats and ties are usually pretty easy to find and are usually in pretty nice shape if you need one. After all, most people hate these get ups and only wear them once or twice then get rid of them. However, be sure to take any suit or business dress to an alteration service so you do not look like a clown. The thrift store does not deal with socks, underwear, gloves, bras, or have a good selection of shoes most of the time. Not that you would want some old geezers shit stained drawers or someone’s washed too many times socks, anyways.

Big Box Stores

You would be surprised to hear this from a radical site, but the big box stores have decent items. In fact, for socks and undergarments, this is pretty much the only game in town — that is, if you do not want to go to some “upscale” store and spend 20 USD on socks that may look sharp but will tear up in a month of hard use. If you get your clothes here, it is about 4 to 10 times more expensive than a thrift store. But, every size imaginable is here with the exception of stuff for the unnaturally tall or morbidly obese. Move past the racks they place in front with merchandise proudly displaying TV commercial sound bites and images, sports, and pop culture silk screened on them. (We rant on this Corpgov bullshit a bit later in this article.) A solid color, well made plain shirt and some okay pants are extremely versatile, will let you be accepted in a huge variety of places, and never become unfashionable. Socks are cheap here. We suggest the white socks. Black socks may be needed to infiltrate certain areas, but lack the absorbency or last as long as good white athletic socks.

Hand Me Downs

Some people’s body type store fat easily and their weight fluctuates from year to year. If you have one of these folks in your social circle, and you notice them losing or gaining pounds, most of them will be glad to get rid of old clothes which have nothing wrong with them to get closet space. There is nothing wrong with recycled clothes.


If you find yourself with it turning hot to cold suddenly and often, it is very easy to layer and not look stupid with the right choice of outfits. That plain, collarless black tee shirt with no lettering can go from a single shirt to a decent looking undershirt with the addition of a button up shirt. Sweaters can be tied around waists of it gets hot. Of course, in a destitute cold survival situation you could put on 2 or 4 sets of everything at the expense of having to wash more often. No need to buy 50 sets of clothes if you stick with basic ingredients and mix and match as you need.

Donate and Give Back

Nothing pains us after struggling day in and ay out and watching our brothers and sisters struggle than the upper middle class lady with a room full of 200 pair of shoes she never wears or the guy who still has good stuff in five closets he has long not been able to fit in left as food for the moths. If the clothes are over a year old and you will never wear them again, it is time to give back to society. Someone, somewhere could use your clothes. Somewhere, someone just got out of jail and is freezing to death because he has no coat. That old, ugly coat you have not used in five years is worthless to you but can save this man’s life. Some where, some kid decided he had enough of being raped in the butt by his or her step dad. He or she ended on the street with no pants and only shorts. We do not think he or she will mind wearing your 4 year old Lee Jeans with a hole in the knee that is too large for you.

In fact, we here at STW can only think of one reason why someone would need that many clothes. If you are an entertainer or socialite, it is usually very frowned and can cost a career to be seen in the same outfit twice for an event. Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac had to save every bit of her clothes because she wrote it off as a business expense. When the IRS started screwing with her like they do most big stars, she had to take them to rooms to show them all the outfits she had and that she needed them. But, chances are, you are no Stevie Nicks if you are reading this, so recycle!

Make and Repair your Own

A bit of fabric, a sewing machine, some thread and some creativity can go a long way. We have seen some real quality stuff come from knitters and tailors. You can also doTanning if you are an outdoors type. It takes time, practice, and skill, but once you get good you can repair your stuff and make your own.

Even if you never want to make your own clothes, we recommend everyone have a kit with at least needle, black thread and white thread, a few extra buttons, and some safety pins. Some nicer hotels give decent kits away to guests for free and you can score one if you can fake the part of a hotel guest. This way you will be able to mend emergency pants blowouts if they are not too bad and put a button on if you need to. It is not incredibly hard. Even if you are not that good at it, even a shoddy sewing job will hold a rip until you get to a good alterations place or get replacement clothes without your bare ass or other things revealed to the world..

Clothing Insights

In kindergarten, the teachers have little charts with pin up clothes to show developing minds about what clothes are best for what situation. We at STW really are not into any scene or culture. You provide that yourself. We can already hear the whining as we type this that having band tee shirts with pot leaf hats or showing your drawers and not wearing a belt is “revolutionary”. We are not going to argue with you. Indeed, it DOES give attention and displays your approval in certain groups and can give a sense of belonging. But, consider this story:

One martial arts instructor had been to Japan to learn ninjitsu. He then returned to his hometown with a little cash and a black belt to start up his own studio and teaching center for kids. The first day, all the kids came in dressed to the nines. They had all ordered the cheesy black ninja masks and the ninja gi from an ad in Black Belt magazine. The instructor shook his head and regretted not going over a dress code before signing folks up. He started a lecture. The whole point of the ancient ninja was that the ninja was being invisible. He or she could move into and out of any situation without attracting the attention of the pigs of that day or unsympathetic folks. Black garb and masks were only used in ceremonial occasions or just a simple, easily disposed of mask worn if identity needed to be hidden. The question he then asked is, are your clothes attracting the wrong kind of attention? Are they versatile and can get you in and out of many situations? Or, is it something the movies sell? The next class, everyone wore street clothes except for two students whose parents were probably pissed off they spent 60 USD on a costume and were hell bent their kid was going to wear it!

While that story is a cheesy story from the era of 1980s martial arts flicks, we tend to agree with the instructor. A true revolutionary is immune to mind control can drift in and out of any situation with ease. He or she chooses clothes that fit the occasion, are versatile, and does not paint a big sign on us that says, “mess with me!”. Our enemies in the Pig Empire are many. Right now, as you read this there are classrooms in police academies, retail sales offices, and advertisement agencies. They teach “profiles” gathered from premier sociologists and psychologists of behaviors, hairstyles, race, and dress to make their job very easy. There are crackheads who while are stupid, are very perceptive and know what a rich, dumb ass tourist looks like and will bash them upside the head and take their money just as quick as they will give blowjobs for another fix. They have been doing this for as long as anyone can remember and will not stop because it works. Why make their job easier by making us identifiable?

Bottom line: Look average, not rich, but clean, and nondescript and usually get left alone. Look disheveled, with eyes bloodshot red, and a “LEGALIZE NOW!” pot leaf or counter culture outfit and maybe get body searched or caged. Dress with obviously expensive stuff, gold watch, and a bulge where your billfold is and maybe get mugged. Reek to high heaven, laid out in public, obviously drunk and maybe get hauled in for vagrancy. The kindergarten teacher was telling some good stuff, but was missing some pin ups for the chart. Always wear the right costume for the right environment.

Do not get fooled by someones ideology that something must be worn to be considered part of that ideology, especially if you are not getting benefit from it. The old, classic “Che shirt” of past anarchist/socialist circles is a great example. Che never had to wear a shirt to say he was a revolutionary or remind himself he was part of some group. Capitalists came in to make some lunch money much later off that clothing line. He was revolutionary because of his actions. His only dress was a suit and tie for the occasional political social event and rugged, nondescript outdoor wear for everyday guerrilla operations. Dressing the part does not make one a revolutionary any more than wearing sports team jersey with all the equipment make you a player for that franchise. It just means you paid someone money.

Outdoor Clothing

If your activities lead to you being outdoors for extended periods of time or in really cold or hot weather, you need to be more selective with your clothes. Avoid cheap cotton because when it gets wet, it is worthless as insulation. Camping has more ideas on proper outdoor gear whether you are between shelter or just like outside.

Walking Billboards

The actors that make a living doing commercials get paid for their time after splitting the check with an agent. All the players in professional sports, even the bench warmers, get paid CEO salaries. But, what if we were to tell you that you can pay to advertise! That is right! Corpgov calls it brand recognition. The object of the game is to make the name of your product or service appear everywhere. If people see this every day, they will subconsciously think about the product in a purchase decision over a brand they have not heard about. No tin foil hat here, but it is almost mass mind control.

Wear what you want, but ask yourself this: Are the Dallas Cowboys breaking you off a portion of ticket sales or ad revenues to wear a jacket with a big football helmet with a star on it? Is the media company that makes anime paying you to have beautiful drawings of their trademarked characters on a shirt? Does Snoop Dog break you off a piece of his blunt for you to wear his shirt with picture of him smoking a blunt? And why in the hell does a clothing designer like Girbaud or FUBU need to plaster the brand name covering your entire ass and charge you 100 USD for the privilege? Shouldn’t simple quality be enough?

Oh, and while you are at it, ask yourself why you never see “the man” or his wife wear anything like this unless he is an ex college frat type that still goes to ball games. Or why, on reality TV, they have to “blur” out anyone’s shirt wearing brand name ads. It is because they are not getting paid for this.

As we say, dress how you would like. If it is a friend’s heavy metal band and you want to support him, awesome. If it is a protest, go ahead and wear a protest shirt for that event. Just be aware of this trend that has been going on for a bit amongst the working classes and working poor to get them to pay for someone’s ad campaign and further an agenda that may not mesh with your own.


You can cheap out on pretty much all clothes, but get good shoes! Nothing tacky that screams “rob me” like rapper Air Jordans, these tacky skull punk rock star BDSM Doc Martins that they sell nowadays, or crap like that. Only good, comfortable, quality shoes. You will be sorry otherwise! For walking shoes, nursing supply houses have the most comfortable white shoes known to man or woman. Avoid the Croc shoes, though. Only hospitals will let folks get away with that. For boots, construction boots are the best boot out there and can double as dress shoes (and hide white socks!) if they are black and polished.

Shoes are an issue. As much as we would love to run around barefoot like the pagan earthy crowd talks about, being barefooted is a safety and health issue and also a stigma. You will be run out of most legitimate public places without shoes. With parasites from pet droppings, athlete’s foot fungus, broken glass, and all manner of other hazards, barefoot walking is limited to the realm of your own pad or martial arts classes. Shoes, particularly old or these cheap slave labor Chinese shoes they have been dumping on the market lately, tend to get three major problems towards the end of it’s useful life.

  • Most common is that the insoul of the shoe gets covered in foot sweat and bacteria or deteriorates. This can be very uncomfortable and leave a very bad smell that can be very strong and ruins socks. New insouls can be acquired to extend the life of the shoe. Get a cheap box of baking soda and put this all in the shoe. This will draw out moisture and keep folks from getting pissed at you for smelling your feet. Rotate shoes if you can and have more than one pair.

  • Second most common is that the bottom of the shoe comes loose from the body of the shoe. You are going to get new shoes in this case soon, but you can delay this somewhat. Get some superglue. Superglue this back together. That should buy you a few days. Do not do like one contributor did (blush) and try to use construction caulk! It does not work and you really WILL have to find shoes then. If these are nice boots or dress shoes, many cities still have actual cobblers around that can take care of this for a few bucks. The cobbler businesses are usually located in downtown areas where there are lots of lawyers and such that have nice shoes. They usually will not fix ratty tennis shoes, though — only business attire type stuff and nicer boots. Don’t think they’re being snobs or anything. Higher end boots and dress shoes are still made to be repairable, whereas very few other shoes are. You can buy new soles for Red Wings and Allen Edmonds, but not for Nikes or Adidas.

  • Third most common is that the bottom of the shoe simply wears out from use and gets holes. If you walk a lot, walk with a slight limp, or even these cheap shoes that use cheap bottoms, you will have this problem eventually. Depending on the size of the hole, you should be okay for a bit. Problem is that if your feet get wet, this is miserable and will start smelling. Like the insoul problem, liberal use of baking soda will hold you over for a bit. If these are really nice shoes like the 1990s Doctor Martins or business shoes, a cobbler can reheel these for far much less than retail price. Red Wing boots are the best about this, as any city with a Red Wing store can repair them. Red Wings are also still union made (by hand, to boot) in Minnesota, too. Otherwise, this is pretty much a done deal. Shoes only last so long.

Work Uniforms

As we talk about later in Get a Job, many jobs have clothing requirements to be employed there. Sometimes this is something simple like just getting a certain color pants. Other times, this can be a scavenger hunt in order not to be ripped off. After all, you probably have just been unemployed and money may be short. Of course, while CorpGov want it’s money up front, you could wait up to three weeks or more to see the first of your paltry paycheck if they hold back a week and pay every two weeks.

If the requirement is only a certain color pants, the thrift store has probably got you covered. If it is a certain color shirt, it is still possible to find a plain one like this

Banquet and fine dining waiters probably have it the worst. Tuxedos tend to run around 200 USD , jacket and all. That is on the cheap side. You probably will not find this in a thrift store, either. If you go to a tuxedo rental place, often they usually have damaged rentals in the back they well let go for very cheap if you explain that you have taken such a job. Be sure to get the hem taken up on the pants and you should be good to go. Look over the shirt. It will probably have a stain someplace. If it is not bad, you should be able to get by until you get tips. Bow ties, you may have to bite the bullet. They are only 10 USD to 20 USD, though. Many places will give you a jacket, which is good. If not, waiters must wear a jacket that shows their ass and are usually disallowed to wear long jackets like the upper class. It has it’s origins in slave days where the “help” was not trusted with silverware and one actual silver fork melted down could equal up to an entire years salary for a slave! Tux shop may not be able to help with this, but you can ask. More likely, you will have to order online.

Scrubs are not just for nurses and doctors. Even if you only mop floors in a medical facility, you must wear scrubs. Nursing supply houses sell cheap stuff on clearance sometimes. Make sure the clearance scrubs have pockets! If you find 4 USD a pair scrubs, usually, this is the reason. Do not go to the big box stores. Most of the time it is only frilly girly type pattern stuff and much more expensive. Thrift store, you may have some luck. But, the clearance rack at the supply house will have better stuff for a dollar or two more and sometimes less than the thrift store most of the time. Even if you eventually quit or get fired, these make excellent lounging and work out clothes. They are loose and comfortable.

Nice clothing stores only hire rich kids for a reason. It is a scam. They make them buy several complete outfits from their line once per season, even if they work part time. The boss man/lady only hire those he or she figures will spend most of the check on clothes, anyways. Even at a discount, these clothes can take up most of a paycheck.

If you need a cheap actual suit and tie, the thrift store is your best deal. As we mentioned when talking about thrift stores, a good tailor is worth it for a recycled suit. When infiltrating the suit world, extremely perceptive people can spot subtle differences in actual class by noticing the tailoring job. Where it is most noticeable is what sociologists call the “proletariat gap” between side top collar of the shirt and the shirt collar. A person who lives and breathes in a suit and tie will not have this. A working class person who never wears a suit except when someone dies or gets married will have this.

Hidden Pockets

Whether or not you occasionally partake of bags of herb or other things that tend to attract bacon, hidden pockets can be a very valuable security measure. A folded hundred dollar bill carefully hidden in a sewn hem after a rough encounter can be a lifesaver. If you are carrying a large sum of cash, this can let you get away from a robber. Make sure your pocket is truly hidden and the item you are trying to hide will not be felt as a bulge during standard police search pat downs. Even if you get taken in on a warrant, you may have a chance to palm and dispose of any contraband before more detailed searches at the station or even in the squad car if you are stealthy.

One of our favorite tricks that works in tandem with the hidden pocket is the dummy wallet. Losing your identification can be more of a pain in the ass than losing cash in certain situations. It is not like a pickpocket will give your cards back to be nice, either. Keep your ID not in your wallet, but in a different pocket. Keep a wallet with a few bucks and maybe some old debit cards with the numbers melted off with a hot butter knife. If some one lifts this, they get nothing. If someone tries to rob you, throw the wallet down on the ground and run if you can. This has gotten a couple of folks out of tough spots in the past.

Deodorant and Hygiene

Hey, wait a minute? Isn’t this supposed to be in a some stupid hygiene article? No. Most body odor that brings oppression to people that deal with anyone not homeless comes not from lack of bathing, but from sweat getting into clothes if they must be reworn.

If you find yourself in this position, your type of deodorant will help a lot, but you must do this before the sweat gets into the clothes. If sweat gets in and bacteria starts growing, it is too late. Get a deodorant that is an antiperspirant. The best kind are the name brand white stick deodorants. Do not mess with the gel, sprays, generics, or roll-ons. These suck. Women’s deodorant for the most part suck as well. “PH balanced for a woman” our ass. Many ladies use only men’s deodorant and swear by it. Your problem with this may vary and it is largely influenced by diet, genetics, and body type. The right deodorant and trying to stay somewhat clean may get you another day or two’s wear in an emergency where there is no laundry access.

Freebreeze is some good stuff. Sprayed into the crotch area of pants, it will keep the odor down for a day or two. That is, if you do not start breaking down with chemical allergies! Do not over do it.

Do not neglect your shoes! Use baking soda.

And, no.. cologne or perfume over already smelly clothes does not help. In fact, it makes it even more gross smelling. It’s time for Laundry.

Of course, some folks just do not sweat much and may not need this advice.

Common sense helps. If you work a slave fast food job and your boss works you every day but only gives you one uniform (common practice) you will need to look at Laundry‘s ideas because of grease.


Last updated: 7 May 2011

Go back toAssorted Freebies

Keeping clothes clean without access to a private washer and dryer can be expensive and time consuming. Also, the man does not like you showing up around his customers with clothes smelling like yesterday’s body odor unless you work some outside job. No one is going to tell you you smell either. It can affect peoples attitudes significantly.

If you are between housing, Low Impact Crashing has creative ideas as well.


  • 1 Apartment Laundry

  • 2 Campus Laundry

  • 3 Corporate Laundry

  • 4 Bathtub

  • 5 Barter

  • 6 Air Wash

  • 7 Piggyback Laundry

  • 8 Homeless Shelters and “Opportunity” Drop In Centers.

  • 9 Creek, Stream, and Ocean Washing

Apartment Laundry

It is very possible to find a apartment complex with or without a gate or locked laundry room. Larger complexes are best to check. Go at night when landlords or nosey staff are away if you do not live there. Expect to extorted by the landlord if those apartments have no washer connections in the units and he has a monopoly. Many landlords charge outrageous prices for old, poorly working machines.

Bring stir sticks, cue tips, or zap strap for coin operated machines. Push the coin mechanism in, remove it a quarter inch, and insert these items as wedges about 45 degrees in angle. Force the slot in, and the machine should start.

Please note that some machines have a “coin gate” that will shut when you push in the coin mechanism, screwing up your picks and not allowing the machine to start. Also realize that this is technically a criminal offense, and if caught you may be charged with theft of services or mischief.

Campus Laundry

If you live near a college campus with dorms, they often have free (or cheap) laundry machines. Go to the nearest campus, wait by the door with your laundry, get let in by some sorority type, and make your way down to the laundry room. They tend to be placed in the basements of residence halls. Students often leave detergent around, so cop some of that, and you’re golden. See also Low Impact Crashing for more ideas. Be careful as more campuses are requiring school name badges to be worn at all times. Be sure you look like a student.

Corporate Laundry

If you have inside information and are feeling crazy, some larger companies will have laundry rooms for their employees. At many these are free. You can wander around campus and just ask “Hi, I’m new here ... oh, I forgot my badge.” Corporate rent-a-pigs assume you are a lost client and will usually gently escort from the premises at worse, unless they think you stole something. Companies are like cults or tribes, they often have their own specialized lingo. Be sure you look like you(and your container for laundry) belong there.

A problem is many places have RFID and keypad door locks. You really can’t get too far without a badge or a code. Some places like casinos or hotels have staff that washes and presses the clothes for folks and will recognize you.

Some companies may have do it yourself guest registration; if you snag a registration badge and step out of the lobby security will mistaken you as “lost” and often ignore you.

Infiltrating has more information if schemes like this tweak your interest.

Of course, you can always work for a place that has this as an employee benefit. However, we have found most of the places that offer this tend to be in hospitality type fields like extremely large destination resort hotels or casinos and will only wash work related clothes under threat of disciplinary action. Of course, the boss man is immune to this rule. Still, not having to worry with scrambling to get clean wage slave outfits with limited time to get to work can be a good thing.


If you at least have detergent, hot running water, and a bathtub, you can wash clothes old school style. It is very labor intensive and does not take care of pet hair or some tough stains quite as well. Be sure to rinse the detergent out thoroughly as it can cause skin irritation. Cheap powder detergent can also leave residue on the clothes if not rinsed off very well. In general, use very little detergent because agitation of the clothes will do most of the work of removing dirt and grime. Be careful over soaking travel soiled white socks in bleach as it tears them apart.

Hanging dry may keep wrinkles down for most normal use. You will still need an iron for occasions where you must be clean pressed like waiter uniforms or business attire.

Quick drying can be done by placing a garment flat between two towels, and you will have to press on the sandwich to squeeze out the water so the towels absorb it. After doing this several times, the garment should only be a bit moist so the rest of the drying can be done by placing the garment near a heat source. Only do this if you have no other option and need a clean shirt quick.


If you know someone that has a washer who will not steal any valuable clothes you may have, you could make a deal to buy detergent, a pack of smokes, favor, or whatever for use. Some may not be agreeable to this, since they may not expect company for 2 hours every few days and it can get old.

Air Wash

In Amerika people usually machine wash their still clean clothing after wearing it for only a few hours, this is ridiculous especially in cooler or dryer climates where for most people socially unacceptable body odors are not produced in large amounts to linger in the garments. If the clothing you are wearing is not actually dirty or just has a few food spots you can often just spot wash the dirty bits if required. You may still have the funk smell, but even in winter a few hours of air and sunshine will often get the body stink out, rain is not a problem either as long as the wind doesn’t blow your garments into a mud puddle, just let it drip dry after the rain shower. This method is much easier on your clothing than machine washing and will lead to much longer life especially for natural fabrics.v Synthetics and some colors are best hung in a well vented area indoors or in the shade to prevent sunlight degradation of the fibers and some dyes and pigments. The smell test will sometimes fail clothing after a few airing outs and you will need to use soap or detergent in a more conventional wash. Your underwear and socks which end up collecting most of the body odor are easily washed in a small container and hung to dry with your outer clothing.

Even if washing or hanging outside is not an option hanging your already worn clothing open over a chair or door as you sleep will let some of the smell dissipate and is quite a bit better than wadding your garments into a ball and throwing it onto the ground where the stank will just get a stale tinge.

Piggyback Laundry

This may not work but can be worth a try in public laundries. Wait in a laundromat. Tell someone with a light load that you will watch the machine for them if you can stick a small amount of your clothes in with theirs.

Homeless Shelters and “Opportunity” Drop In Centers.

Many cities have laundry services for the indigent. Sometimes this is part of a shelter’s service and other times a separate facility. You usually have to sign up and pick up your clothes at a later time. Most will not let you wash them yourself for fear you may “break” something. Some charge very small fees while others are free. They will probably not wash weeks of laundry, either, and probably will set a hard limit of maybe 2 to 5 outfits. Of course, like any “charity”, expect strict restrictions, rules, maybe some snide remarks,and regulations to be able to use this service.

Creek, Stream, and Ocean Washing

It is possible to wash in a creek, lake, or stream. The only problem is that many bodies of water like this are highly polluted with oil, pesticides, and other nastiness and have a high degree of sediment in the water. This includes almost all creeks running through major cities, near river ports, and heavy agricultural areas. It still may knock off some stench if it is not too polluted, though. So, in this case, whites and professional type stuff are out of the question as some creeks and lakes will ruin those clothes. A clear stream like those in the Appalachians or Rockies would work much better.

Be sure to let the clothes dry after dipping them in the lake or creek, especially if you have open cuts or sores, as these bodies of water carry bacteria.

The ocean can be an idea as well. However, your results can vary with this. Some beaches like those in Florida are crystal blue in places. Others, like the Mississippi Gulf Coast is nastier than most reservoir lake water.

Now, in the old days of our great, great grandparents and even in third world countries, this is still a viable way. If you are dealing with caked on mud or dirt, get an old school wash board and start scrubbing. Some of our ancestors would fill a wash tub full of creek water and heat it over a fire to help remove the tougher dirt. Of course, this was an all day event and took the whole family.


Last updated: 8 September 2011

Back to Free Clothing

Maybe you’re just too cheap to pay for anyone else to do the job (local shops can ask up to $200 to tan a coyote hide). Use this method for rabbit hides, deer hides, moose skin, or coyote pelts, just to name a few.


  • 1 Skinning and Storing

  • 2 Ingredients

  • 3 Mixing

  • 4 Final Preparation

  • 4.1 Doing Business

Skinning and Storing

After hunting or processing livestock for the table, it’s a shame to toss out a nice pelt. Use this low cost tanning method for mammal pelts to leave fur on the skin. It will result in a soft and workable hide which can be used as is or cut up for sewing projects.

Cool fresh hides immediately. Trim the flesh and visible fat from the hide and lay the skin flat and fur side down in the shade, preferably on a cold concrete or rock surface. When the skin is cool to the touch, immediately cover the fleshy completely with plain, uniodized salt. You will require three to five pounds for a sheep or deer skin. If the hides aren’t salted within a few hours of when you removed the flesh they will decompose and lose their hair during processing.

Transport the skin flat and store the pelt out of reach of animals, who will gnaw the hides. Don’t stretch the skin, but make sure it has no curled edges. Add more salt as some will have fallen off during the transportation, and fill low spots where liquids will pool.

Allow the skin to dry until it is crispy, which may take between a few days and a couple of weeks. When completely dry, the skin is very stable and won’t change or deteriorate appreciably.


When you’re ready to tan the skins, or you’re getting ready to go out and find some, assemble the following:

7 gallons water 2 pounds (16 cups) bran flakes 16 cups plain or pickling salt (not iodized) 2 large plastic trash cans (30 gallon) and one lid 4 foot wooden stirring stick 3 1/2 cups battery acid (from auto parts store) 2 boxes baking soda wood rack or stretcher neat’s-foot oil nails wire bristle brush

This recipe makes enough tanning solution to tan four large animal skins; or ten rabbit skins; or about six mediumsized pelts such as groundhog. (Cut the recipe in half for fewer skins).


Soak the dried skins in clear, fresh water until flexible for a few hours before you tan. Boil three gallons of water and pour over the bran flakes. Let this sit for an hour, then strain the bran flakes out, saving the brownish water solution.

Bring the remaining four gallons of water to a boil. Put the 16 cups of salt in a plastic trash can. Pour the water over the salt and use the stirring stick to mix until the salt dissolves. Add the brown bran liquid and stir.

When this solution is lukewarm, you are ready to add the battery acid. Read the warning label and first aid advice on the battery acid container. While wearing gloves and an old, long-sleeved shirt, very carefully pour the battery acid down the inside of the trash can into the solution and mix thoroughly. don’t let it splash.

At this point, you can peel the dried inner skin. If you have fresh skins, use as is. Add the skins to the solution and stir, pressing the skins down carefully under the liquid until fully saturated. Leave them to soak for 40 minutes, stirring from time to time to make sure all parts of the hides are exposed to the solution. During the soak, fill your other trash can with clear, lukewarm water. After 40 minutes, soaking is complete.

Use the stirring stick and carefully move the skins one by one into the other trash can. This is the rinsing process, which removes the excess salt from the skins. Stir and slosh the skins for about five minutes, changing the water when it looks dirty.

You may want to add a box of baking soda to the rinse water at this point. Adding baking soda will neutralize some of the acid in the skin — this is good because there will be less possibility of residual acid in the fur that will affect sensitive people. This also may cause the preserving effects of the acid to be neutralized. If skin or fur will spend a lot of time in contact with human skin use baking soda, but skip it if the pelt will be used as a rug or wall hanging.

Final Preparation

Remove the hides from rinse water. They will be very heavy. Hang them over a board or the back of a firm surface to drain. Now, using a sponge, rag or paint brush, swab the still-damp skin side of the hide with an ounce of neat’s- foot oil. It should be absorbed quickly, leaving only a slight oily residue. Tack the hide to your “stretcher.” We use salvaged wood pallets. Gently pull the hide as you tack it so there’s some tension in the skin. No need to exert excess pressure or overstretch. Set the hide in a shady place to dry.

Your acidic tanning solution can be neutralized for disposal by adding a couple boxes of baking soda. It will froth and bubble vigorously and release a potentially toxic gas, so give it plenty of ventilation and get away from the bucket while this is happening. Do not pour it down your drain.

Check the hide every day. When the skin side feels dry to the touch in the center, but still flexible and somewhat soft, take it down from the rack. Lay the fur side down and go over the skin with a wire bristle brush. This softens the skin and lightens the color. Don’t brush heavily or excessively in one spot, just enough to give a suede-like appearance. After this, set the skin where it can fully dry for a day or so longer.

Doing Business

Once your friends know you can tan hides, be prepared for them to bring around their hunting trophies and livestock skins for treatment. Don’t do it for free. Commercial tanners get $25 to $45 to tan a hide, and you should price your work accordingly. Otherwise you’ll find yourself swamped with every skin in the region and no spare time.

In exchange, give your friends a professional, quality job and an upfront understanding about what might go wrong. People get very sensitive about their skins and this precaution will prevent potential misunderstandings and keep your friendship.

4. Free Shelter

Last updated: 7 August 2011

All over the world, the promise of increasing wealth has left behind a huge population of people who are unable to continually afford the inflating price of housing along with other basic services.

Some people become homeless when that last paycheck is unable to cover rent for another month and they are evicted. Then, not having a home, and couch surfing to survive being hard on the schedule, they begin to experience trouble at work, they lose the ability to return to regular housing, and they become homeless.

Others see the problem of the inflating economy and the slavery of debt-based home finance or permanent payout to a slum lord and refuse to play by the crooked rules of their game, they opt out, they are now out camping, homeless by choice.

In the United States especially, homelessness is associated with the worst elements in society; the ones we are at war with; drug users, anarchists, the poor. This societal psychological distancing is required so the public will accept the regular abuses that they pay the police to perpetrate against those less than human. These protectors of justice strictly enforce that the laws forbidding the homeless to sleep in any but well hidden scarce shelters, thus protecting the public from seeing the reality and feeling the shame that they have not taken any real action to help the less fortunate.

Often programs to assist the poor and homeless are corpgov pork programs to steal from the taxpayer and grease the palms of a few cronies.

The homeless should be the ward of the radical since we are clearly the only ones who will take up their cause. There have been repeated stories of the homeless being paid by “corpgov activism” to picket for a cause; the homeless are our natural allies, not theirs.

One of the most frightening aspects of not having a permanent address is the loss of most of your civil rights. Since you likely do not own the property where you camp (even if you do) the police and courts will empower themselves to search and seize your property either for trespass or for possibly being stolen. If the police can leave the scene with your things and not give you a receipt they have become defacto owners of your things and you will have no way to retrieve them.

The most vile aspect of state abuse of the homeless is taken in the name of child welfare. If the state feels that it has a compelling reason, it will confiscate your child and place them in a home where they will be properly programmed as good corpgov citizens.

Many homeless people suffer from depression, as either a cause or effect felt by those who have been cast out against their will, without their corpgov insurance to pump them with prescription antidepressants. They often turn to taxed alcohol abuse or reliance on hard drugs. We must as brothers and sisters radicalize this population and give them something to strive for. If we let the welfare system do our job these people will be deactivated with a meager income just enough to keep them from trying to have a life. This tactic of depression and payoff has been effectively used to destroy (North American) Native, African originating, and other minority peoples movements in the United States and Canada.

In our world we are seeing the full extent of the greed and manipulation that banking and finance can exert onto the basic human need of a safe place to lay their head for the night. This basic desire along with the need for an expensive education have been harnessed through the use of loans at interest paid off over around half an average lifetime to enslave the Amerikan and much of the worlds population. Fearing for their house and confiscation of their worldly goods a person becomes a willing or unwilling robotic tool for the super rich who need a moving economy to harvest from. Because low cost alternatives to the traditional condo and house allow a way out of this contrived enslavement there is immense political pressure to destroy these alternatives in the name of keeping housing market prices up. When demonstrating against corporations let at least part of your wrath fall upon these banks.

Free Shelter Articles

The Street — Surviving houseless.

Low Impact Crashing How to crash in almost any building or room without needing traditional appliances.

Free Land Buying a small piece or squatting a National Park.

Backpacking — Stealth camping, staying in a hammock or bivy bag.

Camping — Living out of a tent.

Urban Living — For all the ways of finding undisturbed sleep, starting a housing co-op

Free Furniture — Creative methods for kitting out your dig.

Rural Living — Everything country sleep related.

Squatting Seth Tobacmans 1987 pamphlet edited and updated by the Steal This Wiki team

Not in Free shelter but useful:

Community Centers — Ask in infoshops and social centers.

Communes — Finding and starting your own.

Tree sitting — Live rent free supported by brothers and sisters while fighting corpgov

Get a Job — Volunteering on farms, all expenses payed, or cashing up.

Vacations — Drifting

Liberate — Finding free shelter in specific cities.

The Street

Last updated: 7 May 2011

Many of the homeless in the North America are youth turned out by hateful, abusive, or perverse parents or stepparents. This chapter is to address the needs of a street person during the first few hours to weeks until they find a safe support group and hopefully some kind of proper shelter. The language of this chapter is mostly directed toward teenage women but the survival tips apply equally to both sexes and any age. The streets are not an option in terms of living, the fact that you are out there means you had to run before there was time to plan, you must move quickly to find safe shelter and support.


  • 1 Reasons to Leave Home

  • 1.1 Physical Abuse

  • 1.2 Sexual Abuse

  • 2 Reasons not to Leave Home

  • 2.1 Dangers on the Streets

  • 2.2 Unprepared

  • 2.3 Evil Helpers

  • 3 Choosing Good Helpers

  • 4 Personal Needs

  • 4.1 Shelters

  • 4.2 Food

  • 4.3 Getting Off Drugs

  • 5 Services

  • 5.1 Rape and Battery Support Groups

  • 5.2 State Welfare Services

  • 5.3 Foster Home

  • 5.4 Stealing

  • 5.5 Mail

  • 5.6 E-mail

  • 5.7 Health Clubs

  • 6 Men, Women, Roommates, and Safety Pacts

  • 6.1 Crash Pad Romance

  • 6.2 Mental Illness

  • 7 Survival

  • 7.1 Shelters

  • 7.2 Sympathy Psych

  • 7.3 Destitute Sheltering

  • 7.4 Alcohol and Cold

  • 7.5 Hot Water

  • 7.6 Other Tips

  • 8 Other

Reasons to Leave Home

If you are seriously considering leaving the reasonably free supply of food, clothing, heat, bed, safe storage, secure space, and roof over your head you must have a very good reason. But NEVER trade sex or abuse from your alleged guardians for these! Leaving might be the right choice, but the street is what happens when you have no choice, think hard, don’t you have a relative, friend, teacher, co-worker, anyone you can go to for shelter to avoid the street?

Physical Abuse

If you are in a situation where you fear for your personal safety or have already been assaulted you should do two things first of all file a police complaint and open a file with family services documenting the problem. It will probably save the whole family from the physical abuse of the type you have been suffering. Unfortunately abused parties like drug addicts suffer from withdrawal, you may be in more hot water for removing the abuser from the home by those who remain. If these actions cause no change and you have tried every other place to hide it might be worth risking a flight away even to the dangerous cold streets to escape worse violence at home.

Sexual Abuse

At the first sign of sexual abuse leave your house and open a file at welfare services and the police as well as demanding a temporary restraining order be placed that day. You must do this to protect not only yourself but any other vulnerable family members. If the police, court, or social worker takes no action attempt to find a friend or relative to hide with. Sometimes this separation is all that is needed. Especially in second or third abusive relationships you might not be able to expect even your mother to believe your claims of abuse, unfortunately this may be the end of your relationship with your sick family. Only as a last ditch emergency action should a girl go onto the streets to avoid rape or sexual abuse since a teen girl is also a prime target for street predators.

Just because you have been raped or sexually abused even repeatedly for a long time doesn’t mean you are used up and there is no reason to resist. Survival sex is a slippery slope of being softened up often leading to the most abusive and undesired acts step by step while letting those with the money rule your body and often get their hooks deep into your soul. Previous victims of abuse often try to cleanse themselves by trying to grab the power back in the wrong way, by becoming a more depraved abuser they are chasing the dragon of becoming a whole person. Don’t enable the abuse of others by feeding a dangerous addiction to abuse. You also risk becoming another abuser if you choose the wrong path toward healing and self empowerment.

Reasons not to Leave Home

Annoyance with your parents or siblings, discipline, or school related problems are probably best dealt with in your own home, you have no idea how bad the streets can be especially for a girl, a sexist world it is, most every perv wants to take a piece of a teenage girl, plenty like to find a boy to abuse too. We are not worried that you will remain homeless for more than a few days, our concern is that your leaky roof and stained bed will be owned by a brutal pimp and your rent will be paid in depraved sex acts with diseased strangers.

Dangers on the Streets

Since you have no safe storage on the streets everything you own must be with you at all times, this leads to the bag lady or shopping cart homeless that you have seen.

If you are underage you are unable to sign a legal contract for a car or apartment and are considered something similar to property of your parents or guardians, get a fake ID as soon as possible. Identification Papers has information on fake IDs and a hack to get past underage work laws.

Most cities make it illegal for the homeless to sleep hoping it will make them disappear or die, when you are asleep behind a bush or on a bench don’t be too surprised if others rifle through your bags and pockets stealing any useful or valuable things they might find, not to mention placing you in a very vulnerable position for physical or sexual abuse.

Worse yet a young woman without any hand to hand combat training is at the mercy of a huge abusive rapist type. Your best defense is being in good shape and sprinting away from the first sign of trouble.

Sometimes you happen to be in a dead end street or the exit door is blocked there is no option of running away. While some naive feminists and well armed police may disagree, the idea that an armed woman is just some weakling who is only going to turn over her weapon to her attacker is just foolish. If you bring justice to an abuser through an act of self defense you must realize that the police, courts, appointed lawyers, prisons and parole boards all discriminate heavily against the homeless and minorities we feel it is almost impossible to give you good advice whether to hide the evidence and run or to find a good lawyer. There is much danger from the (un)justice system when a woman protects her own life but sometimes it’s the only option.

If during your fight for survival you become somehow involved with someone who is in the drug trade and are arrested at the same time as them you can expect the system to attack you like a mother bear. Once you are convicted with a felony drug crime, almost all social services including healthcare, food stamps, and student aid can be denied to you for the rest of your life.

It seems to us that the system needs to maintain a class of people who only have the option of larceny, selling drugs, or prostitution. It is catch-22 laws like this among other abuses that make us realize the legal governance of our nation has been overthrown and we must fight a revolution to return our legal constitutional republic.


Most decisions to hit the streets happen in a fearful rage after an attack. Hopefully you got out with at least a warm jacket, shoes, and clothes. Unless you managed to grab a wallet or purse you have no money, ID, or phone. In this case you must find the first police station or hospital and report the crime, but be wary of giving identifying information — you don’t want your abuser to convince the cops to send you home. Many people make the mistake of wandering the streets for hours or days as the evidence quickly looses its potency. Get help but be cautious if the help includes a lock down type facility.

As an aside, if you managed to grab your phone think hard about who pays the bill and who controls the account. Your abusers can easily file a missing person report or even a stolen phone report and track you down that way, you might just pull the battery out to be safe for a few days. Credit or debit cards also leave a trace where they were used. If you really need cash have a friend with a car withdraw cash from an ATM on the other side of town.

Evil Helpers

There are those men and women who prey sexually on the freshly homeless. Be wary of a single man or women of any age who offers you a place to stay with no strings attached in their own home. Never accept room and board for any kind of sexual favor. Never accept any drinks or drugs from strangers or those you have recently met.

Even churches cannot always be considered a safe place, the same is true with homeless youth shelters, unfortunately these low pay positions are an easy place for men who want to abuse young people to meet their prey.

Be on very high alert and avoid places where prostitution is common, pimps may recruit by coercion or they may just kidnap rape and begin to sell the body of a young woman. Many pimps use the introduction to hard drug addiction and controlled supply method to enslave men and women. Sometimes you will even feel pressure to engage in survival sex to get a place to stay or food.

Choosing Good Helpers

Only accept help from a Pastor, Rabbi, or volunteer once you see their home has what appears to be a normal husband, wife, and children, don’t stay alone by any singles, widowers or divorced, a normal dinner with the family should usually be enough to scan for weirdness, especially watch how the kids interact with their parents, look for fear. Some Christian types may try to push their faith on you, you already know what you believe you don’t owe them that, but for survival pretending that you are listening is a small price for a safe roof and food to eat until you can get on your feet. At the same time you can also be looking for another place to stay. DO NOT ABUSE THIS TRUST, DO NOT STEAL FROM THESE HELPERS!! If you need something ask.

There are cults that might take you in even give you a place to sleep, be careful and bolt if it appears that they are into locking down doors, brainwashing, punishments, or trading food for conversion or good deeds.

Personal Needs

Until you can find what is a safe place to stay the temptation is there to shoplift for your needs, this might indirectly solve your shelter problem with a night in jail but it could also dump you back in you abusive and now wary former home.


Most shelters require a sign up some time in the early afternoon, stop by a few of them and see which ones are clean and which ones will try to turn the underage back over to their abusers. Homeless shelters are one of the first places the police check during a man hunt. Expect to have your stuff pawed through as you sleep unless you are literally on top of it, stash valuables someplace safe before hitting the shelter for the night. Systems like the federal “Homeless Management Information System” are a real concern because many police agencies can tap into it without a warrant. See http://epic.org/privacy/poverty/ for more information.


If you knock on doors you would be surprised how most people will give you either part of a warm dinner or at least a can of creamed mushroom soup that was in back of the cupboard if you ask nicely, sometimes just to get you to go away. See Free Food for more ideas.

Getting Off Drugs

See Free Dope#Getting Clean


Before identifying yourself be sure that the service you are checking into will not inform your abusive family of your location.

Rape and Battery Support Groups

Some of the best services for women are rape and battery support groups, some will even match you with a safe formerly abused woman to stay with and counseling. Don’t get freaked if some of these women are a little fragile or weird, they had to glue their shattered life together from some serious shit, you are part of their healing. DO NOT STEAL OR TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THEM! Be wary that some groups are based on the premise that all men are evil, overlook this and work on your healing. Unfortunately there are few services for abused and raped males, ask at the free clinic though.

State Welfare Services

This varies from one state to another be careful since some states if they believe your story will throw you into something similar to juvie hall for abused kids with lockdowns and regular searches. As we know abused people learn to abuse be careful not to jump from the pan into the fire.

Foster Home

Most often a state welfare agency will send you to a foster family who will assume full parental power over you for at least a limited time. These people are often unsung heroes but like teachers may have become burned out and now do the service for the stipend. Keep your eyes open for potential abuse which rarely occurs and keep in good contact with your social worker. It is a good idea to set up escape plans now while things are cool in case the freaks at state welfare decide you are a liar and send you back to your abusers. Stashing escape gear, making deals with friends, teachers, and spiritual leaders for emergency shelter is vitally important. An effective tactic is to go for help where they wont expect, for example Catholic kids asking Jewish welfare agencies for help, Muslims going to Protestant aid institutions, etc. Take counseling seriously and if you feel that the worker is getting nowhere with you ask if another social worker could be assigned. O


In some times and places you may be forced to shoplift to survive (although if you look around there is usually an alternative.) No matter what, never steal from those who take you in to help you! You are first of all hurting yourself as you seriously risk being turned back out back to the cold street, you also burn the people they might have helped survive in the future. If you have a need for some survival item or cash just ask them, or get it in some other way.


In 1994, the Postal Service issued a ruling that the homeless are eligible for a PO Box if they can provide a piece of official identification, a way to be reached, or proof that the postmaster knows them. The rule also declared that homeless people are entitled to general delivery service indefinitely, not for just 30 days. See Postage for more info.


Most cities have at least one bookshop or cafe with a free public access computer.

Public libraries usually have free internet access, but aren’t always the best place to log in (if you have a library card) because they often keep extensive usage records. They also sometimes put time restrictions on the machines. Library cards (often required for access) are hard to get if you don’t have an address verification.

Just remember that no public computer can be trusted as safe. Don’t do anything crazy. See Internet Communications for more information.

Health Clubs

Would you ever expect us radical yippie types to suggest you go for one of the biggest CorpGov ripoffs of all, the gym? Yup. Athletic clubs basically subsidise the price of membership because ninety percent of the overweight slaves who sign up never show up for the first week, but they are stuck in some crazy year contract. If possible beg the ID from a person who resembles you or modify the ID and use his key card to get in. Once the employees get to know your face they will check your ID less, don’t get to friendly though since the homeless are really not welcome at these clubs. Women may want to find a women’s only club so they don’t have to put up with guys harassing or oggling them. Most gyms have the locker rooms in front of the desk, so if you just need a shower, you can usually just walk in. Even if you have to pay it is often worth the money if you are without a proper home for the following services:

  • Clean Showers — you have no idea how nice a private clean shower stall is when you are in a filthy squat or shelter hopping.

  • Therapy Pool(warm pool) — the streets are cold in the winter, it is amazing what an hour in a therapy pool will do for your back and muscles cramped from nights on the ground shivering.

  • Sauna — If we manage to find an abandoned room the chances of it having proper heating are pretty low, often we can find a dank damp moldy building to squat somewhere. An hour or so sweating it out in this dry air and cleaning the fungus and mold out of your lungs can make such a difference in your health and energy level. This is also an oppertunity to dry our your feet and prevent immersion foot.

  • Exercise Equipment — not that we really need it so much, we are on our bicycles or walking all day but it is a good idea to work your abs and back groups to prevent back injury. Use the stretching stations to limber up and prevent injury.

  • Locker — try to rent a big one, this may be your only safe storage space.

If you want this plan to work you need to visit a public restroom and pre-clean yourself, at least your visible areas, before hitting the club, also put on some bagged clean cyclist or workout clothing. The employees must NEVER know that you are homeless or they will surely terminate your membership!

Men, Women, Roommates, and Safety Pacts

A word to the young women (but can also apply to young men, TG’s. and homosexuals of both sexes) who are forced out of their family home for whatever reason and into one of the many less desirable shelter scenarios presented in this book. Until you get a serious case of street smarts (don’t ever fool yourself that takes several hard years and lots of very painful mistakes) be very wary of taking residence where there are any males in the mix.

Unfortunately thanks to a chemical called testosterone, that courses in amazing quantities through the veins of males from their early teens onward, the normal rational judgment of even the sweetest smartest guy is clouded to a varying extent when it comes to interaction with young women. If possible make your life easier by rooming or crashing in a female only environment, if at all possible with a strong locking door and secure windows. All of the catty female politics that might annoy you are infinitely simpler and safer than dealing with some confused guy who might decide to stalk you or get his hands on you. Please do not be surprised if you are attacked by these well meaning women as well. Women can be as vicious as men, even more so when they are being made to feel that only men cause pain. Just remember that psychological pain and jealousy can be even more powerful than sex hormones whatever their orientation do not stay with someone who is a threat to you, you need a place where you can be safe.

Your best plan is to make a long term pact with one or two trusted like minded people in a non physical relationship who swear to stay together and guard the safety of the others first above any other consideration. It is also every revolutionary’s responsibility to watch out for the safety and care of newly homeless girl and boy and to guide them into them own safety pact group.

Crash Pad Romance

Nearly every guy in our movement is a decent honorable person but we want to leave no room for error with our most vulnerable, the abused run-away. Let your mixed social interaction take place only in public or group areas. Realize that an abused woman or man may have varying feelings toward romantic advances from either sex, from disinterest to active revulsion, pushing the issue can not only prolong and interfere with their healing but may also lead to a misunderstanding and serious allegations of misconduct against you.

Mental Illness

A reality is that an unfortunate percentage of those seeking or living in alternative housing are not there as a form of protest against a broken CorpGov system but because they have untreated and sometimes dangerous mental illness, do what you can to see them get proper treatment, at arms length if you must, but don’t make them your problem as well. Choose your friends and roommates wisely.



The idea is to somehow get inside and warm and safe. Homeless shelters, squats, and alternative shelter can all provide some of what you need if you can get inside, anyone who has been out knows that emergency bed space for both men and women is a precious and limited commodity often denied for dubious reasons, especially considering the crazy rules and waiting lists that can be involved.

Sympathy Psych

If you can dress and clean up nicely and act the non-destitute, normally successful part people will actually have more sympathy for you as they see a small reflection of themselves and their life in your situation. This might get you into shelters, people’s homes, and other options where a “gross” homeless guy would be turned away in disgust. Play to your audience for success in sheltering. Women should not overplay abuse or fragility. No matter how hard it is, acting as “normal” as possible will pay off in protecting and sheltering yourself and any children with you. It is amazing how a firm handshake, a steady look, and a confident posture will change attitudes on the homeless.

Destitute Sheltering

If all else fails and you are stuck overnight outside we would hope you have some wilderness camping gear and can get to a park or industrial area. Most homeless forced to sleep outdoors are not so well equipped due to dire poverty or theft. Even a cardboard box and a plastic trash sack is better than nothing at all. Try to insulate with cardboard and crumpled newspaper — this could save your life. Keep your torso, groin, neck and head insulated at all costs. Hide under anything that will give some protection from the elements.

Alcohol and Cold

It may make you feel warmer, but alcohol will speed the progression of hypothermia (getting too cold) by letting all of you heat out of your core areas to your arms, legs, head, and face. Hypothermia is the leading cause of overnight death in the homeless population. Don’t drink alcohol to stay warm!

Nearly all drugs and medications interfere with the bodies natural temperature regulation of the body, either inhibiting blood flow and risking frostbite or by allowing heat to escape and risking hypothermia.

Hot Water

No matter how you do it, acquire a thermos and keep it filled with hot water, you should be drinking this hot water by the gallon every day and night. It is usually not to hard to walk right in to a restaurant, convenience-market, or gas station and fill up before the staff can even begin to complain or kick you out. The other good source for hot water is to use a pocket stinger heater Pack your bag#Immersion Boiler and plug in wherever you can find power, many outdoor signs have a place to plug in — keep your eyes open Power plugs are everywhere, even outside. Most hot water faucets you will encounter just don’t put out water warm enough to keep usable heat even if stored in a thermos. Even if you are not getting enough calories in you diet, drinking the hot water will save the caloric energy you would have used to keep you warm in cool or damp weather meaning you can get by on less.

Other Tips

See Free Clothing for tips on increasing the warmth of your clothing.


Call 911 if you think the cops or ambulance can help you or get to a pay phone and dial these free numbers

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 800 799 SAFE

Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) Hotline: 800 656 HOPE

National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline: 866 331 9474

See Free High School for information on how to get emancipated, becoming a legal adult before 18

See Low Impact Crashing andSquatting for more homelessness tips

http://www.1800runaway.org/ Find A Place To Go in Your Area Find a place to go in your area. these places are especially for runaway and homeless youth and children.

http://www.artistshelpingchildren.org/shelters.html Shelters, Homeless and Otherwise Doesn’t list every shelter, but it’s a good resource.

http://www.covenanthouse.org/houses Covenant House Listings if you need a place to stay or want to stop being a drifter/homeless and are under age 21, this is the place to go.

Low Impact Crashing

Last updated: 12 June 2011

When, for whatever reasons, you are homeless or living on the Streets (some of us like to call it “Being Houseless” because Home, Baby, is where the Heart Is!), cleanliness can help in so many ways, and yet it is one of the first things to get blown off by some people due to the foul attitude that sometimes accompanies being Houseless against your will. Stay cool, and dedicate yourself to remaining clean and healthy, no matter how bad The Man wants you looking nasty to give fearful yuppies another reason to avoid confronting the nastier problems in our society. Tell yourself that staying clean and healthy is your way of saying “Fuck You” to stereotypes of homelessness and poverty. Maintaining a high standard of personal hygiene can both keep you healthy and turn around people who would normally be quite hostile to brothers and sisters who are either down on their luck, or simply unable or unwilling to tolerate abusive employment conditions.

You will often find yourself with access to an abandoned building, open unused room, and maybe even a bed in a house but for social, security, or other reasons no access to a normal kitchen, laundry, or bathroom. Many of your needs will be met using your regular camping gear like sleeping bag, ground mat, and stove but often you can take advantage of the utilities and environmental control offered, but beware security systems.

Check out Pack your bag for easy packable urban crash gear.


  • 1 Kitchen

  • 1.1 Portable Electrical Cooking

  • 1.2 Pots and Containers

  • 1.3 Refrigeration

  • 1.4 Pot-in-Pot Refrigerator

  • 1.5 Microwaves

  • 1.6 Sterno

  • 1.7 Other Stoves

  • 1.8 BBQ Grille

  • 1.8.1 Charcoal

  • 1.8.2 Newspaper Logs

  • 1.9 Chimney Stoves

  • 1.10 Hobo Stove

  • 1.10.1 Buddy Burner

  • 1.10.2 Hand Sanitizer Stove

  • 1.10.3 Advanced Hobo Ovens

  • 1.10.4 Box Oven

  • 2 Washing Clothing

  • 2.1 Laundromat

  • 2.2 Detergent

  • 2.3 Bucket Wash

  • 2.4 Public Restroom

  • 3 Drying Clothing

  • 3.1 Improvised Clothing

  • 4 Clean Water

  • 4.1 Irrigation

  • 4.2 Garden Hose

  • 4.3 Filtration

  • 4.4 Boiling

  • 4.5 Solar UV Sterilization (SODIS)

  • 4.6 Bleach

  • 4.7 Fire Sprinklers (and Why You Shouldn’t Use Them)

  • 5 Bed

  • 6 Humidity

  • 7 Bath

  • 7.1 Soap

  • 7.2 Indoor Bathing

  • 7.3 Shower Bottle

  • 7.4 Frugal Bathing

  • 7.5 Hot Water

  • 7.6 Outdoor Bathing

  • 7.7 Showers for Sailors

  • 7.8 Baby Wipes

  • 8 Toilet

  • 9 Electricity

  • 9.1 Power Jacks

  • 9.2 Pop open the meter

  • 9.3 Alternative Voltages

  • 9.4 Outdoor Power Taps

  • 9.5 Testing

  • 9.6 Long Runs

  • 9.7 Free Electricity

  • 10 Lighting

  • 10.1 Stealth Light

  • 11 Heat

  • 12 Staying warm

  • 13 Cooling

  • 14 Computer

  • 15 A Word on Batteries, Solar, and “Wind-Up” Gadgets

  • 16 Pest Control


Portable Electrical Cooking

You will likely have access to electricity once indoors. If that’s the case, it is better to use this for cooking than risk fire and waste expensive fuel using your fuel stove. See Cheap Chow for some pocket immersion cooker (stinger) recipes and be sure that the whole coil stays underwater so you don’t melt or burn out your water heater. If you are in a location where you will be staying for a while, a hot plate or coffee cup warmer and Sierra cup for minimalists might even be smarter to cook with than a stinger since there is no fear of gooping up your heater. A useful portable hotplate is a folding travel iron flipped over run at full power. Just be careful not to spill anything into the internals.

Pots and Containers

Camp pots and pans work great, as do cheap dollar store cookware, these latter may not have the strength or lifetime of high end kitchenware but you will probably transition to something better or different even when living a nomadic lifestyle.

We learned in rural India how big a treasure a Hawkins pressure cooker was. For a USA$10–20 investment a family could cut their kerosene cooking fuel bill in half. One of our teams used one while traveling in Asia and later found them to be sold in the US as well as other inexpensive brands. The Hawkins seemed to cook faster than some of the other brands, this is probably due to it having a higher operating pressure. One problem was if you don’t pay attention and the cooker runs dry and overheats a special metal safety ‘fuse” plug will melt and let off the pressure, we had to replace this plug twice due to careless visitors sharing the pot. Fortunately these fuses are cheap, in the meantime we found a small rubber plug to block the fuse hole. A spare rubber gasket is a good idea whatever cooker you are using, a web search will let you know what other if any spares to get. We have been told that nicer expensive pressure cookers are heavy but only require a new gasket every few years and cleaning the valves.

Acquire used plastic food buckets for washing and trash/compost/recycling, and plastic bags for storage. Large, empty and very clean cans can be used as cooking pots. Just remember that if the food inside is hot, so is the can. Use pot holders of some sort, or hold it carefully with a pair of pliers at the lip.

Keep your food in resealable containers like plastic bags or deli tubs. Food left out can either spoil or attract unwanted critters of all types. Remember to keep anything that touches your food (including your hands) as clean as you can. Also, zipper seal type bags can be washed out and reused. Turn them inside out to air dry.


If there is no refrigerator, get ice from the local convenience store or fast food joint and put it in a plastic bag with your food. If you buy a large bag of ice, keep it closed. When it melts, you will have clean drinking or washing water. If you can score a cheap Styrofoam cooler, do so and use it! Some of the pharmaceutical cartel cold transport boxes even come with an ice-gel pack that if you collect enough can be refrozen by sympathizers with freezers, water filled frozen soft drink bottles work good too and you can drink the thawed contents. Often just asking nicely will get the drug dealers (pharmacist) to save these cold boxes for you. Since it was free you won’t be too sorry leaving it behind if the cops or security sweep and clear your squat.

Pot-in-Pot Refrigerator

The Pot-in-Pot refrigerator originated in Africa but has been proven worldwide to work to preserve food at about an average of 40 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit. The idea is that you take a large unglazed clay pot and place a smaller pot inside of it. Then you fill the space between the two pots with sand. The sand is soaked with water. The food is then placed inside the smaller pot and is stored. The device is then covered with a thick wet cloth. This will then use evaporative cooling to keep the food inside stored at a temperature of between 40 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit higher in the hottest parts of summer. The only thing that is needed is that one adds water to the sand about 2 times a day and one keeps the thick cloth covering wet. Be sure to keep this cooler in the shade or it will still get hot. If you have a fan aim it at your pot-in-pot to cool not only your food but the whole room. Best results are obtained in arid climates, in very humid areas your results may vary. Below is a link to a picture of one of these devices, using two regular orange terracotta plant pots one large one small.



Make friends with the staff of a nearby convenience store, most have microwaves for heating up the junk they sell. If you ask nicely, you may be able to use these to heat food you’ve acquired elsewhere as well as the expired one day foods the employees let you “rescue”.


If the electricity or gas is out, a Sterno-style camp stove that folds flat can be worth its weight in gold. While canned gel fuel burns for two hours on average, the metal “candle” types with liquid fuel used for buffet warming pans (often called “chafing fuel”) can burn for as long as six. Just remember to burn them in a well-ventilated area. You can also use a taper candle cut into small sections and placed inside a tuna or pet food can. A variation of this, the old boy scout “buddy burner” discussed below. An upside down coffee can placed on top makes a good surface for cooking. Be sure to poke some holes in the top of the can to allow oxygen to the flame and a door at the bottom in order to access and control the flame. For baking, an improvised oven made of an aluminum foil tent over a pan or pot can serve well. One clever trick is to use a pair of aluminum pie pans and hold them together with binder clips.

Other Stoves

Petrol(gasoline or Coleman fuel, white gas, Stoddard solvent, naptha, lighter fluid, some charcoal lighting fluid) and kerosene(jet fuel diesel, fuel, furnace oil) stoves can only safely be used in a fireplace hearth or out of doors on stone or mineral earth, that said some are able to generate amazing heat, designed to quickly melt and boil snow for mountaineering teams. In many places in the US and the world liquid fuel or oil heat tanks are found outside or have a fill pipe outside, just ask permission and use a fuel transfer pump to fill up your fuel bottles, often a removable strainer is found on the fill pipe.

Alcohol and solid fuel stoves are discussed in Backpacking

Keep a pail of water and a box of baking soda, mineral earth, or salt handy should a fire break out, a wet towel works too if it is a small fire. Baking soda and salt snuff out grease fires, while water causes them to spread. Dry mineral soil, such as sand or clay but not dry organic duff or mulch, works as a good extinguishing agent for all types of fire.

BBQ Grille

Both kettle type and “Pyromid” foldup charcoal grilles are good for very secluded squats and longer term camping, those cheap flat bottom grilles at the grocery store never seem to work very well for us. REMEMBER! Never use any charcoal burning devices or barbecue (BBQ) grills indoors in a well sealed room, since the carbon monoxide can kill you! Always make sure that you are in a burn resistant area like on strictly sand or concrete or in a fireplace with a working chimney. The smell and heat of your stove, charcoal, campfire smoke, or cooking food may alert security or the police to your squat or activate fire suppression systems.

You can bake in your covered grille, for things that you don’t want to have a smoke smell like bread and cakes cover the pan with a lid or foil. A cooking thermometer can help you figure out temperatures, don’t be surprised to find burn spots on your food but most of it should be edible once you get some practice in timing and setup.

If you don’t have a nice BBQ grille you can always improvise. One of the ways the classical American grille does its job is by holding the heated gasses under the hood to cook from all sides. Get ahold of a charcoal pre-heater can, the kind with holes in the bottom and a handle on the side, it is reasonably portable and pretty cheap. Acquire a grill from wherever, disposable foil BBQ grilles are a good source. Get a fire going and down to good coals, now put the grille over the top and follow with a large coffee can or cookie tin, the can will retain the heated gasses just like a grille hood or lid, poke a hole in the top of the can to allow some gas to rise out instead of just around the bottom edge.


Auto maker Henry Ford was a prolific inventor and industrialist who is credited with pioneering the assembly line form of mass production. He was also a racist, xenophobic, Nazi loving, fascist, antisemitic fuck and the only American favorably mentioned in Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf (Ralph Manheim’s translation). At his Rouge River plant he ordered the leftover charcoal used in making Model-T cars recycled to make some extra cash. Turns out that bastard invented the Kingsford briquette (named after his brother in-law, businessman E.G. Kingsford). Today Kingsford is part of the Clorox Company and there are other briquette makers but our experience is Kingsford is still usually the best. If kept in a cool, dry place in a sealed bag, the briquettes will have an almost indefinite shelflife. In cheaper sheet metal grilles, stack the briquettes on edge so they get better airflow and cook hotter. You can use lighting fluid, or match light briquettes but they both cost extra. Sawdust mixed with wax can be purchased as sticks for an easy firestarter or you can DIY. To speed the warm up of your coals you can use a blower or hair dryer to move the air around. A piece of pipe works too but you might get a head rush from blowing too much.

Newspaper Logs

You can hand roll newspaper into longer burning logs if there is no wood or other fuels to burn. These will burn leaving plenty of wasted ash and sparks. If you have the time in summer you can wet roll newspaper logs which burn much cleaner when dry. Just soak the newspaper overnight and carefully roll into “logs”. Smooth out the wrinkles and bubbles as you go. Use a one inch thick smooth PVC pipe or wood dowel so there is a hole down the center, this will make them dry faster. Make the “logs” no thicker than two to four inches thick. Slide off of the pipe and than let dry in the sun for several days, standing them on end will speed drying.

Chimney Stoves

You can get a much better ventilated fire using the chimney concept to accelerate the intake and output gas of a wood fire increasing the heat and greatly reducing smoke and smell. Find a piece of steel (other metals may melt) or clay pipe at least three or four inches wide. If all you have is a straight piece of pipe at least a eighteen inches tall cut or break a feed hole and light the fire, a cinder block or two can be broken into shape to make a stand to keep the chimney from falling over, cut several one inch wide half circle or v shaped holes around the top so the hot gas can escape around your pot. Even better is 18 inches of pipe for a chimney a 90 degree elbow and about a foot of horizontal feed pipe, this all increases the draft and makes for a hotter flame, you can partly block the intake side on the bottom to slow the flame, feed the fire with wood or charcoal pushed in with a stick. A covered ash hole at the back of the elbow will let you clean the stove while it is burning. Cement pipe and base will not last long unless you make a thick protective layer of clay mud and bake it hard, cement turns into lime at the temperatures of a chimney or rocket stove.

You can also build a great chimney stove with clay mud if you can find it where you are camped, dig out the fire area and just form a chimney, the heat will help fuse it into a usable long lasting stove, most cultures use a tapering cone shaped like a beehive.

Cardboard and newspaper balls in both the horizontal feed pipe and a few in the chimney section help get the draft jet started and blow the coals or wood to blazing life quickly. Be careful as this stove can make lots of sparks with some kinds of wood and almost always with paper and grass, some screen over the top of the chimney will stop almost all sparks.

Hobo Stove

During the Great Depression of the 1930’s, many of the destitute cooked their meals with Hobo Stoves. These were made from large metal #10 cans (like one ones used for coffee), with holes cut along the sides near the top and bottom for ventilation, and a small covered opening at the bottom to put your fuel source (Cut a door, but leave enough for a hinge). Canned fuel works great for this, but put it on a heat-proof base like a cinder block, stone floor tile, or some bricks. If you use it outdoors, you can burn small scraps of wood, paper, or just about anything that will burn.

Buddy Burner

Often a buddy burner was used with the hobo stove, this was a tuna can with a strip of cardboard that is the same width as the height of the can, roll up tight like a snail shell to fit the can. Fueling with melted wax is best but food oil or kerosene can also be used although these are both a bit more dangerous and more difficult to carry, a powerful flame is produced. Be careful melting wax on anything but a double boiler, stove top melting can cause it to catch fire, liquid it is like a kerosene fire. The flame can get pretty big so you will need a way to control it, to regulate the flame use the can lid and cover part of the flaming surface to reduce heat, smother with a larger can or lid to kill the flames. To re-fuel the burner when cooking feed small chunks of wax onto the burning cardboard or spoonfulls of fuel. One fuel that is easy to find for free is used fryer oil, look behind restaraunts.


Hand Sanitizer Stove

This is easy, some businesses especially hospitals and clinics now offer a dispenser of hand sanitizer in the bathroom near the door. Clean out a small can like for tuna or even better dive for a cat food can as these sometimes come with a plastic lid. Pump out some of the sanitizer into a container with a good lid, pour into your can, light it. To extinguish cover with a can lid. The stuff burns like Sterno gel but sometimes leaves behind some goop, an added benefit is it doesn’t splash. This will often goop and clog up Pepsi can stoves, just burn in an open top can.

Also, on many dispensers (at least purell) you can reach under the bottom up against the wall, and press up. That’s the button to open it. Now take the whole bag of hand sanitizer for later use if you can’t find a better stove by then.

Advanced Hobo Ovens

The old buddy burner works well using charcoal, but an inside oven is useful in your squat. If you have a simple hot plate with a variable heat setting you can make a small oven.

You will need:

  • a coffee can or larger sheet metal box

  • the metal coffee can lid for a floor plate

  • a tool to punch holes

  • Steel electric fence wire for grate and to suspend the floor plate

  • an oven thermometer

  • a ceramic plate or pot lid

Both top and bottom of the can are removed and the can is placed onto the burner (an exposed coil type burner is better than a closed flat one). Three holes are punched about one cm. above the level of the burner. Wire is laced through these holes to suspend the loose can lid as a oven floor. Punch a ring of holes one cm. large about 2-3cm from the edge of this floor. 1/2 way up the can punch holes and lace wire to make a grate for food. A ceramic plate will sit on top to make the roof of your oven. Cut three or four small triangle vents in the top of the can to allow the heat to rise. A hole in the side near the grate can be punched so the thermometer probe can enter. Adjust the hotplate to set temperature, keep an eye on your thermometer for temperature drift.

If a hot plate is unavailable you can attempt to use a 100 watt incandescent light bulb. Leave the bottom of the can intact except for a hole that you can thread the light bulb bottom through, adjusting temperature by opening holes in the top under the plate. The “Easy Bake Ovens” sold in toy stores work this way.


Box Oven

Due to safety issues we mention this apart from the indoor ovens. A cardboard box can be used with a hotplate that has no overheat safety shutoff to cook or smoke food. You will often see these hotplates in thrift stores as the type with a large solid spiral coil and stainless steel reflector. Place the hotplate or a can with several hot charcoal briquettes at the bottom of the box. An optional can or cookie sheet with wood chips will add smoke flavor. A layer of foil above the cookie sheet will catch meat drippings. Meats can be suspended with clean wire clothing hangers carefully poked through the top of the box. It might be a good idea to double the box and be sure to remove all tape inside the box. A candy thermometer carefully pushed through a hole in the side of the box at the level of the food gives you an idea of temperature. ALWAYS USE THIS OVEN OUTSIDE!! Only use this box oven in an area where a burning cardboard box would be safe, always have a watcher seated nearby to unplug the hotplate and extinguish any fires. Aluminum foil can be used to cover the inside walls to lengthen the life of the box and for some extra safety.

Washing Clothing


If you have the change to spare sharing a washer and dryer at a laundromat you will get the best clean. Second best is a bathroom sink or bucket hand wash and laundromat dry, especially in cold damp weather. Since you likely are only carrying one or two changes of clothes, get some friends together and load up the machine to a full load. Pennies can be used to activate some washing machines that use quarters; Place the penny in the quarter return slot, press the coin return button and flick the penny up into the slot. Sometimes it will take a few tries but it will register as 25 cents. This trick works for some dryers too. Be wary that you are not caught using this trick, since it will become apparent to the manager if it is used too often in one place.


Regular laundry detergent powder works best but can stink up your pack and contaminate food and clothes. Some soaps claim to be concentrated, so look for the one that needs the least soap per load. Some places sell soap in the bulk section by weight. In some stores, you might find bars of washing soap. This can be used to pre-treat stains. Wet the soap, wet the stain, rub. Remember that some washing soaps like Fels-Naptha are strictly for clothing and not for personal use (although some swear by it for treatment for rashes caused by poison ivy and other skin-irritant plans). You can also grate up bars of ordinary bathroom soap although it takes much more bar soap flakes than normal laundry detergent for the same effect. Most health food stores sell Dr. Bronner’s liquid soap in various size containers (from a 2 ounce tube to a gallon bottle). As an all-purpose soap that is also vegan and not tested on animals, it can be used to wash almost anything. It’s concentrated, so you’ll need to dilute it in another bottle to at least 1 part soap to 2–3 parts water. Look for the bottles with the text-filled labels (Note: They’re all scented expect for the “Baby Mild” with light blue text).

Bucket Wash

A plastic bucket and laundry detergent or liquid dish soap (NOTdishwasher machine soap!) works great for washing clothing. There are metal agitators that can be bought through catalogs that specialize in non-electric households. Lacking that, you can use a rubber toilet plunger (preferably one that HASN’T been used in a toilet) and a large bucket or bath tub, using a long broom handle makes using the plunger/agitator easier as you don’t have to bend over. A metal washboard can come in handy if you will be staying for awhile, but might be hard to find in some areas. Try a store that caters to migrant laborers. Remember to use your camp stove to boil some water to add if you need a warm water wash, or use your stinger immersion boiler directly in the bucket.

Public Restroom

A public restroom is also good to wash your clothes, especially socks and underwear.

  • Pre-treat any stains before you arrive with damp detergent paste, liquid dish detergent, stain spray, or stain stick

  • Plug the drain, packing a flat universal drain plug with you is a good idea here

  • Half fill sink with warm water and some detergent or the provided hand soap if you cant get real wash soap

  • Soak for a few minutes and squeeze occasionally

  • Drain dirty water and squeeze water from clothes

  • Add clean water agitate and drain, repeat if dirt or soap remain in the clothes but one or two rinses is usually enough in a rush

  • Dry small stuff with with the electrical hand dryer, wear the rest to dry it

Drying Clothing

A narrow bungie type cord makes a great dry line, but dont leave it outside when not drying clothes, sun and weather will make it rot. Make sure there is air circulation in the place you hang your clothes to dry or you might end up with a unhealthy mold problem in that room. If you need to wash and wear, you can carefully roll one or two pieces of clothing in a large dry cotton towel, then twist and hold for about a minute removing most of the moisture. Hold damp socks and thin gloves over the opening of a hand or hair dryer, be careful not to burn synthetics with a hair dryer. If you have no other option spend the money and go to the laundromat, this is often the safest and easiest way to dry a sleeping bag in winter.

Improvised Clothing

see Free Clothing for ways to increase the insulating power of your clothing

Clean Water


Irrigation systems can be tapped for water. This may be your easiest source if you are camped under a bridge, although it may not be safe to drink. Double check on that water since some irrigation systems, especially those in desert areas, often use “greywater” or “sullage” that is treated waste water (Yuck!) and is not safe for washing or drinking. If the nearby fire hydrants or junction boxes are painted purple, then that is the most likely case. Irrigation systems usually run on a timer and flow during the late evening so you will have to store the water you need for the day.

Garden Hose

If you have a friend in the forest or fire service they can likely get you the flat nylon jacketed garden hose that is thrown away after forest fires, you can also get this flat hose on a reel in garden stores, this packs small and light and is useful if you need to get water to your squat from a hose faucet or to wash up behind nearby bushes. Don’t forget to get a light hose nozzle and valve.

The knob on most public water faucets is removed so the homeless can’t get a drink or wash, but most are standard square and are available at hardware stores. Most useful to us is the key shaped faucet turner or even better a “fourway lawn faucet key” made to be carried in your pocket or pack. If you have the choice, get a key or knob with wider wings or a larger knob diameter as this gives you leverage when trying to open stuck faucets. You might need a way to shim or break a padlock in some parks and golf courses where the “water pump” looking faucets are in use. see LockSmithing

For all but assured clean drinking water use your backpacker’s water filter or boil. Allow the hose to run for a few minutes or be careful to drain after every use to eliminate the problems of stagnant water. The FDA has standards for drinking water hose, so look for certification on the package if buying a new hose (The ones certified for drinking water use are often made of white plastic).


If you need a water filter and can’t afford a proper backpacking model maybe you want to make the terracotta/organic water filter which removes most harmful bacteria. This design is by a team in Manatuto in East Timor including ANU materials scientist Mr Tony Flynn.

You will need:

  • straw and cow manure or wood for fuel

  • terra cotta clay (high clay mud)

  • used tea leaves or coffee grounds or rice hulls


  • 1- Take a handful of dry, crushed clay.

  • 2- Mix the clay with a handful of your organic material.

  • 3- Add enough water to make a stiff biscuit-like mixture.

  • 4- Form a cylindrical pot that has one end closed.

  • 5- Dry the pot in the sun.

  • 6- Surround them with straw.

  • 7- Place in a mound of cow manure or wood fuel.

  • 8- Light the straw and then top up the burning manure or wood as required.

In less than an hour the filters will be finished. Fill the filter and let the water slowly drip through the bottom into another container. As far as effectiveness against bacterial pathogens and larger Giardia this filter removes 96.4 to 99.8 of E-coli bacteria, well within safe levels.


When all that is available is questionable water but you do have a good fuel supply most parasites and other microscopic troublemakers can be eliminated with this method.

  • Filter water with a coffee filter, paper towel, or several inches of cloth stuffed tightly into a cut off bottle.

  • Bring water to a boil and shut down, it is pasteurized.

  • Collect and store water in a clean container free of contamination.

Why just to a boil? And what is with the city always saying 20–30 min with additional instructions water temperatures? The reality is that above 160° F (70° C) all pathogens become inactive within 30 minutes and above 185° F (85° C) within a few minutes, so in the time to reach 212° F (100° C) all the bad microbes will become inactive. The first filtration is to remove larger microbes and cysts like Giardia which are a bit stronger.

Solar UV Sterilization (SODIS)

This technique uses the ultraviolet rays of the sun to kill or inactivate the bacteria and virus found in untreated water. However, it will not kill larger cyst organisms like giardia but these are not difficult to filter out. See the sand filter design on this page. This solar UV method was researched by the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Sciences and Technology (http://www.sodis.ch/index_EN):

  • Use a Polyethylene Terephthalate or “PET” plastic bottle (the ones with the “1” on the bottom), that is clean, unbroken, has no labels, no colored plastic (a bluish tinge is okay) and is 3 liters or smaller.

  • Fill the bottle with water and tighten the lid (If the water is murky or cloudy, filter it).

  • Place the bottle laying on its side exposed to the sun for at least six hours (a sheet of corrugated steel works perfectly as a base for multiple bottles). During this time, the UV radiation from the sun kills pathogens that would make you sick.

  • If more than half the sky is covered by clouds, let the bottle sit in the sun for two consecutive days.

  • The water is now ready to drink. To prevent contamination, the treated water should be stored in the bottle.

Download an English language flyer here:


Unscented bleach can be used to purify water it you can’t get it straight from a known safe faucet. This is the cheap Clorox type without any additives to improve colors or smell. Try to filter your water .

  • Filter water with a coffee filter, paper towel, or several inches of cloth stuffed tightly into a cut off bottle

  • 2 drops of bleach per quart of water

  • 8 drops of bleach per gallon of water

  • 1/2 teaspoon bleach per five gallons of water

  • If water is still cloudy, double the dose of bleach.

The treated water should be allowed to stand covered for 30 minutes, it should have a slight chlorine odor if it doesn’t give it another dose and let the water to stand for another 15 minutes. If the treated water has too strong a chlorine taste let it stand exposed to the air for a few hours. Be careful the bleach will leave holes in your clothes if it spills or splashes, rinse out quickly. Warning: if you choose to use to use your leftover bleach to clean your floors, DO NOT, under any circumstances, mix it with ammonia. Bleach and ammonia create chlorine gas fumes that will give you an agonizing death. Ammonia is found in some products you might not expect, such as Windex. Watch out!

Fire Sprinklers (and Why You Shouldn’t Use Them)

Don’t try to tap a fire sprinkler system for water! You will set off the alarm and your squat will be discovered. Once you drain even a few PSI from the system it will fill with water and alarm, if it is an air pressurized system. Water filed systems are often filled with an antifreeze mix, these systems also alarm and call the fire department if any water flow is detected.


Several layers of corrugated cardboard on two or three wood freight pallets make a passable mattress getting you off of a cold or damp cement floor. A hammock suspended from pipes, ceiling supports, or eye-bolts anchored into a cement wall is a comfortable way to sleep dry. Of course your sleeping bag and pad will work almost everywhere.

see also Free Furniture, Pack your bag, and Backpacking andCamping for more bed options


If you are in an unheated room over winter moisture becomes your enemy. Moisture robs you of heat when you try to sleep in damp bedding, it also promotes the growth of mold which make most people sick when it gets concentrated in a badly ventilated room. Open or uncover a window every day and get fresh air into the room if possible. The condensation will saturate your sleeping bag or bedding and gear if you are not vigilant. Sleeping bag and bedding must be shaken out and hung to air out. If you don’t air out after just a few cold nights you will have a damp bag, there is a risk of you trying to bed down and finding a frozen sleeping bag. Cook outside of your room, the steam will stick to the walls and condense on your stuff. Used properly a fan or electrical heater really helps keep stuff dry, just don’t put everything so close to a heater that you burn or melt it. Kerosene heaters or safe wood burners can work well if they have a good chimney or ventilation, just be careful as theys present a greater fire hazard. If possibel ‘cook’ the room out for a few hours at least once a week, this will help you clean the crud out of your body and will help dry out the room, once you shut off the heat open the windows and let the hot moist air out.


Failure to properly wash hands, face, and food especially after going to the bathroom has been shown to be a larger cause and vector of Hepatitis, Giardiasis (“beaver fever”), E-coli Cholera, and Typhoid and other potentially deadly bacteria and viruses than even polluted water both in urban and wilderness environments. Wear sandals in any shower or communal bath area where foot fungus is possible; foot rot can ruin your best mode of transport.

Part of your hygiene regimen must be keeping your nails trimmed very short especially on your hands, this is a way insect and worm eggs or skin infection bacteria can easily be spread first by scratching your skin or hairy areas, then later these are transferred to the mouth or other body areas during a meal or scratching itches. Your toenails should be trimmed straight across to prevent ingrown nails which quickly become infected at least immobilizing you and possibly leading to a life threatening cellulitis or other deep infected abscess in your feet.


Going to a hotel in around noon and asking maids with their cleaning carts for a few bars of soap is one way to stock up. Asking a doorman at a nice hotel, just walk up as direct and nice as you can, and say, “I am homeless, may I please have one bar of soap?” will work more times than not. Bring a plastic grocery bag into a fast food restaurant and squirt out a good five or ten pumps of liquid hand soap. Store it wisely, or else the stuff in your pockets or backpack will be wet with sticky cleansing goop. A bottle of liquid soap with a neck cord is great for quick commando showers, and won’t fall down to a disgusting bathroom floor.

Indoor Bathing

You can buy a hose with either a standard faucet thread and rubber gasket or a stretch over connection that fits loosely over about half of the faucets you will find, both turning the faucet into a long-hose shower head. Both are available for a few bucks in the plumbing section of most of the big-box “Mart” stores, some pet stores, and hardware stores, it can turn a secluded public restroom with a floor drain into a private spa.

With the rubber universal shower adapters slowly turn on the water and keep the pressure down so the adapter doesn’t pop off the faucet. These shower kits are reasonably lightweight as long as you get the all plastic ones. For adaptability you can remove the stretchy rubber faucet adapter and get a threaded plumbing adapter for your regular faucet, in addition try to get a garden hose thread. A warning for first time users of the universal adapter; it is known to spray water everywhere, sometimes even the screw down adapters will not fit quite right and can make a spray mess.

For more privacy while washing off you might use a door jamb lock available at luggage stores, or a door stop to lock the bathroom. Only use this option during off hours and at a location where there is another bathroom available for people to use. Leaving a hardware store lock hasp might work, but leaving that kind of obvious evidence of your activity might get a convenient bathroom closed by management.

Shower Bottle

Grab a milk jug cap and/or a soft drink bottle cap and either drill or melt with a hot nail a dozen or so 2mm holes. Since they are so light make one or two for different bottles in your area, they will be in your pack ready to screw onto what you find. A black plastic bag will let your bottle warm up in the sun even in late spring and early fall. Pre-mix heated water with cold, boiling water will deform most plastic drink bottles. Some bottle caps also match drinking system bladders which will also work for showering.

If you heat a large nail or bolt you can melt a hole to join two bottles so a cut off bottle can be used as a filler funnel (this also works for the cut off bottle sand filter) watch out for damage to the cap threads and seal edge.

Frugal Bathing

If you are overloading a squat or house and need to conserve hot water, are at a public restroom with a very small water heater, or you are dipper bathing from a bucket of warmed water, here is a way to not waste your limited supply.

  • 1-Wet yourself down with a washcloth

  • 2-Turn off water

  • 3-Soap up head, groin, armpits, and any places with tough dirt

  • 4-Rinse

If you are limited to a bucket, you should use a large cup to wet and rinse yourself, dumping the bucket over your head is a good way to accidentally run out of water while you still have soap on your body.

Even more frugal is to remain dressed and wet your hands or washcloth with water (warm if available) and wash first your hands, then your face, breasts(especially when nursing), armpits and abdomen, groin and butt crack, finally your feet. Be sure to then cleanse your hands and washcloth well so you do not contract or spread disease. This would be a good time to change and wash your socks, underwear, and washcloth. A large soft sponge with sudsy liquid bath soap is a helpful for situations with minimal water, especially for getting at those unsavory orifices.

Hot Water

Your electric stinger immersion water heater can be put into your wash bucket and used to warm around three or four gallons of water(20L), enough for a dipper shower or a washcloth bath.

In summer a dark colored garden hose laid out on the roof or pavement will collect solar heat and around noon you can take a quick hot shower by turning on the water.

If you have somewhere semi-permanent to stay and access to a garbage dump, a very good water heater can be easily made. Find a discarded refrigerator, even beat up you can sell the freon to a recycler making some cash and protecting the ozone layer. Take the collector off the back of a fridge (that is, the coils on the back or bottom), run two high temp hoses into it and tighten down with hose clamps from the auto parts store, one input (cold) and the other output (hot). Now, mount the collector on something shiny, be it cardboard covered with aluminum foil or the back of some insulation. Make sure it’s nice and secure. Build a frame around it with wood or PVC, or something else which won’t get damaged by temperatures around 150C. A glass or plexiglass cover is nice too, but if you can’t get one it will still work. Now, you’ll have to prime the heater by sucking some water through it. Once this is done, simply raise the cold water input higher than the hot water output and the unit will gravity siphon. This unit can get water VERY hot, and it can do it fairly quickly on a sunny day even in winter, so be careful. Let it drain when it’s not hooked up, otherwise it will be filled with superheated water that can cause serious burns for the unsuspecting user.

If you can find an insulated container, either an old water heater or a sports team barrel type drink cooler connect the cold water (lower input) to the lower part of the water container and seal with caulk. Now do the same with the hot attaching it to the high side. Be sure both tubes stay below the water line and it will convection pump the cold water to the bottom of the solar collector and also pump the hot water to the top of your hot water container, no electricity or pump required. The key for the convection pumping is your insulated water container must be above the whole collector to work properly. If your collector works well you will need a supply of cool water to mix in for safe showering.

Outdoor Bathing

One editor used to wash up in back of a church with a garden hose and a bar of hotel soap, drying himself off with his own shirt or pants, whichever was cleaner at the time. The clothes dry off in minutes, even faster if you first wipe the water off you with your hands and flick it away, and it’s a great feeling knowing you can keep clean and healthy under your own power under nasty life conditions. A trick used by a number of hobos and rail-riders is to carry a large squirt bottle with diluted baby shampoo. The idea is to wet yourself down, squirt yourself with the diluted shampoo, lather yourself from head to toe, rinse yourself and then dry off. You’d be able to clean yourself in about 3 minutes.

You can use your bucket and portable shower hose to make a siphon shower. Submerge the whole shower hose set into the bucket and let the bubbles go out. Hang the bucket from a tree branch, pipe, or other hanger, now quickly bring the shower head down to a level below the bucket allowing the siphon to begin sucking water from the bucket (it might help to tie the other end of the hose to the bucket handle). Be sure the adapter end is as close to the bottom of the bucket as possible, if you have two feet of hose drop below the bucket it produces a nice spray. If you break the siphon just suck on the shower head (for wide shower heads use the side of your mouth to suck and your cheek to seal most of the spray holes) until it starts flowing again. If this is too complicated you can hang a flower sprinkler and tip it with a rope to shower.

If you are camped out or can’t find a bucket use your sleeping bag stuff sack and a plastic shopping or garbage bag liner to hold the shower water. Don’t use the draw string on the sack as this will likely rip out when you hang it up. Instead insert your hose and make several wraps of cord around the neck of the bag now hang up the bag, to start a siphon shower squeeze the sack. Try to find a large flat stone or cement pedestal to stand on, clean it off as best as you can and place below your hang shower. In forested areas look for trees that drip pine sap which is very tough to get off your feet. If you just can’t find a stone wear your sandals to keep your feet clean.

If you can’t use your electrical immersion water boiler you can heat some water in a cook pot and add it to your bucket or bag of cold water to warm it up.

It is a good idea to hang up a privacy sheet using your hostel sack and clothing line or at least wear a light swimsuit while you wash down since straight neighbors might call the police for public nudity, that and the pervs who might get the wrong idea.

Showers for Sailors

If you want a good old fashioned hotel like bath and are in a coastal area here’s a tip that usually works to find a good bath. Go to a boat marina during business hours with your pack in tow. Tell someone if they ask that you’ve just come in from a night out fishing and you want to clean up. They’ll then usually leave you alone. If no questions are asked go to the restroom which usually has a shower in it and take your shower. Often the marina bathrooms will have little rooms that you can lock yourself into for a long awesome hot shower with no one bothering you for at least a half hour or so.

Baby Wipes

Baby wipes give you a refreshing clean feeling when you are away from normal bathrooms, especially if you are on the road, the downside is they are expensive, heavy, and wasteful. If the package is left open the wipes will dry out lightening your load, just add a small squirt from your water bottle to a balled up dry wipe in order to rehydrate them.

The good news is it is easy to make your own wipes. Flannel, terry cloth and plain cotton t-shirts can be cut into squares and make great cheap washcloths. Put a few drops of diluted soap in a plastic baggie and you can get clean wherever you are. If they dry out for some reason, just add a little more water.


A chamber pot or pee bottle is a good idea if you want your trips into and out of your toiletless urban squat minimal to avoid detection. Women need to find bottles with a large opening or a urine stream funnel which can be bought or made from a diagonally-cut 1 liter bottle. If there is no toilet, or it doesn’t work, use a 5 gallon bucket (check the dumpsters outside the local fast food joints) and improvise a toilet seat (Anything flat that can hold your weight and with a hole big enough will do). Get some dry earth, sawdust, or cat litter to pour into the bucket after each use to kill the smell. If you can get the lid to the bucket, keep it and use it. Also, line the bucket with disposable garbage bags. Double bag it because you do NOT want it to leak when you’re taking it out.

WARNING: DO NOT MIX CHLORINE BLEACH WITH URINE! It will produce chlorine fumes and in a closed room can cause lasting lung injuries or chemical pneumonia. It might also melt your bottle or bucket from the heat of the chemical reaction between the bleach and the ammonia in the urine.

If the toilet in your squat is not clogged but doesn’t flush when you push the lever or you have no water pressure to refill the flush tank, a bucket of water dumped into the toilet will cause a flush cycle.

Toilet paper can be expensive or hard on the sewer or pipe system in some parts of the world. While it may seem disgusting to some readers here is the post toilet cleaning method we saw while in Jordan. The left hand is wet with the bathroom sink or a bottle of water if outside, now the wet hand is used to wipe your butt repeat until clean, then wash your hands really well.

A large soft sponge with soapy warm water and plenty of rinse water is a better alternative to getting your feces all over you hand.


Electricity is a big part of the magic of the modern world. Ask anyone who has had to hand wash laundry for a whole family, charge batteries with a stationary bicycle generator, or hand crank a wheat grinder. With electrical power we can heat our squats and tents, charge batteries, and run full size computers. Without electricity we are back in the 19th century either freezing our asses off or burning expensive, sooty, and often unsafe fuels.

You can check to see if you have electricity by switching the breakers off and on; if you have a power meter on the back of your building, you may be able to activate it yourself, but this should only be attempted with extreme caution. Pirating electricity may be as simple as running an extension cord out to an outlet at the foot of a streetlight, but if it’s not, don’t attempt it unless yoou are a trained expert, the same goes for messing with damaged wiring.

Working with electricity is a very useful skill to our movement but if you are not taking proper precautions can also easily be deadly. If possible find a free vocational electricians course or even take a electrical apprentice position for a few months.

Power Jacks

Power jacks are found in almost every room around the First World. If the jacks are turned off there are in-line light fixture adapters that screw in and still allow the light bulb.

If there is only fluorescent fixtures a few wire nuts and a chopped off extension cord or heavy speaker wire with a power receptacle on the end will let you tap into the power. Be sure that the power or breaker is off when you are doing your work. Tape over the switches so nobody surprises you with a ZOT of electricity when they enter the room. Sometimes there will be a blank panel of the right size where you might expect a switch or wall jack. Open it up and test the wires to see if they are live. Many institutions use a weird screw head pattern to open up electrical panels; a few minutes of work with an old screwdriver and a file should make the right tool.

Pop open the meter

If you’re careful about how you remove the tamper indicator, you might be able to concealably open the meter, allowing you to short past it, preventing the power company from noticing your usage. A powerline going to a building has two opposite phase 120v lines and a neutral line, all of which you will find within the box, running through the meter. Stealing the meter from an active institution will cut power. Also, apparently one of the means the power company uses to shut off power is to cover the contacts on the meter with plastic caps, which you can remove. Since you can’t shut power off in here, wear rubber gloves and exercise extreme caution.

Alternative Voltages

Think about 110/220v flexible gadgets when buying travel items — you never know where you will be globe hopping.

If you can score a fully charged vehicle or (even better) a deep cycle battery, consider investing in a DC to AC power converter/charger with battery clips. Be sure not to let the battery drop below 10 volts or it will cause wear on the battery plates. Some highway signs have a big 12 volt solar panel that will charge car batteries. Small 12v to 110 or 220 converters are now cheaply found especially in truck stops and gas stations. see Cars

If you can find a working car alternator it is possible to charge storage batteries using homemade windmills, exercise bicycles, water wheels or whatever creative way you can get some mechanical energy. This is much easier to find or build than solar panels. The batteries must have some charge for the alternator to create a charging field.

Outdoor Power Taps

’!!DANGER!! High skill required!! DANGER!!’ A person with appropriate skill can remove a bulb or splice into wiring from public light displays or streetlights, appropriate safety and training must be used as there is no way to shut off power for this work, serious life hazard is involved. Remember power in light poles is live even during daytime or off hours, and can carry as much as 40 Amps of power and be over 480 volts (1/8th Amp is enough to kill you).’!!DANGER!!’

Know the voltage of the line you’re tapping.

While using proper insulating safety equipment (gloves, etc. on a case by case basis), expose the leads you wish to tap into. Then connect the appropriate number of transformers. For example, when tapping a 480 volt streetlamp, you’ll want a pair of euro-us device transformers in series to give you a nice approximately 120 volt output. Add more in parallel if you’re pulling more power. Of course, if you can score a higher power transformer somewhere, USE IT. Some 120 to 35 volt toroids rated around 600 watts can be found for ~$30 online, and can be used on some street fixtures to step down the voltage to usable 100–120 volt AC that US appliances will accept.

Have we mentioned the ‘!!DANGER!!’ yet?


A very small glow bulb AC power tester can be purchased in most hardware stores, these are safe, easy to use, and don’t burn out. Use this tester to determine if there is power in the wiring of a building and if the grounds are connected on a plug. You can also use this to test where the electrical company has cut off power (sometimes it is right at the meter). On 220 volt systems both “hot” wires will give you a glow when connected to ground, on 110 only one “hot” wire will give a glow when connected to ground. The ground is the bottom round pin in Amerikan 110 volt plugs, the ground diverts power away from you if an appliance short out inside, this is important in metal cased appliances and tools especially when using them on wet concrete.

Long Runs

If you need to transmit electricity for a very long run 110 volts is often too low and resistance losses in the line will quickly reduce available electricity on long extension cord runs. The easiest way to get better distance out of narrow wire is to use a transformer and boost the voltage. High voltages require narrower wire and incur less losses for the same wattage but High Voltages are More Dangerous!

Use extreme caution using surplus military communication, network wire, or other other wires when stringing out to your destination, people will not expect a non-official power line to be running high voltage. Split the wires and run them parallel at least a foot or so apart, use electrical fence insulators where you hang wires in trees and buildings, inspect regularly for damage. A three or four amp rated four to one ratio transformer will convert 110 volt to 440 volt which is much better at transiting long stretches of line. You will need another four to one to step back down to 110v, be careful to install the second transformer to step down or you will be boosting to about 2000 volts! Consider installing a sensitive circuit breaker at your electrical source transformer box, on of a lower value at your destination power box should help you avoid a long hike to flip the breaker. You might get one USA to EU power converter and one EU to USA converter to boost up to 220 and back to 110 at the destination, this will require some additional adapter tips which often come with the travel converters.

Free Electricity

Contact your electrical company and relief agencies to see if there is a fund or discount for the indigent, some programs are for the elderly or homes with children. These programs are often part of the contract that the power company has with the community public utilities commission. Power to the People!!


A small, cheap desk lamp shining upwards can illuminate a whole room. A compact florescent lamp that screws into a regular light bulb socket will give lots of light (and very little heat) and be a very minor electrical drain; this is good if you are tapping the light socket power for other uses.

Small oil lamps and the oil used to burn in them can be had at the big box stores and hardware stores. Just remember that those things get VERY HOT after a while. If you use candles, never leave them burning unattended. You can increase the light by putting a mirror or aluminum foil behind the candle and reflect the flame. You can also make an improvised oil lamp using a glass jar and any vegetable oil (NEVER use motor oil or other petrochemical lubricants!). Heat up the bottom of the candle until it’s soft, press it into the bottom of the inside of the jar, and when it cools, pour vegetable oil up to where the wick is exposed, then light the wick. The oil will burn with the candle. Some oils will be sooty and will smoke, so keep a window open. Keep it away from foot traffic, because if it spills, the spilled oil will spread flame VERY quickly! These type of open flames cause most of the deaths and property damage attributed to squatting.

For a DIY oil lamp, just make a clay bowl and use a cotton shoelace as a wick.

Many grocery stores sell a seven day candle often with religious images on it. Look in the Mexican foods section. These are great for night lights and the tall walls and splashing wax usually put the fire out if there is a tip over. If possible choose white wax and clear glass so you will get maximum usable light compared to colored candle residue and containers.

If you are in an underground squat, something like an old abandoned subway or utility tunnel a Coleman type lantern using pressurized liquid fuel which gives the best large area coverage might be a good idea, the propane type lantern might also be considered if you can get a big propane tank like is used for a barbecue grill, look at camping shops or online for a long adapter hose. Above all be careful with fire safety.

If you plan to spend hours or days exploring underground tunnels a carbide type lamp which is fueled with water and calcium carbide. The cheapest way to find a carbide lamp is in an antique shop but be sure that it is in good shape and the drip valves still work. Carry a backup LED light if you plan on using a carbide lamp. If you accidentally drop it or otherwise have the carbide lamp go out, you may need some lighting to see enough to reignite it

Stealth Light

If you are concerned with being noticed in your squat as you fumble about at night you should not use a full power flashlight or even a standard white LED light. Some flashlights, like the one used by the army, come with color filters: red to preserve night vision, and sometimes blue which is harder to notice on a dark night. In any case, if you really want stealth it might be smart to go a step further and poke a pinhole in some foil and blue filter the light too. Avoid swinging the light it is better that it not move as this attracts less attention. Blinking the light on and off as needed is what distress beacons do to get attention, bad idea for stealthy squatters. Do a light survey with a partner outside and assess the visibility, consider paper or cardboard over the lower windows to stealth your squat if they are too visible.


If you are lucky you will have access to electricity or find a heated room. There are ways to get the most out of heat even if you are paying for the electricity. Even in a large house move all appliances especially the oven, if possible the hot water heater, and refrigerator into your sleeping room and be sure to seal the window with plastic if needed and have a rolled rug or blanket to block the gap under your door, many interior doors would be helped with weatherstripping to further reduce drafts especially in windy areas. If the central heating is not in use be sure to block up the vent which might be drafting cold air into your room. A candle flame, smoke from an incense stick, or lit cigarette are all good tools if used carefully to survey your room for drafts. You may be surprised to see that we mention keeping the refrigerator in your room but in reality a fridge generates lots of heat as it works to cool the food inside so instead of keeping all of you food frozen outside why not let the fridge do double duty heating your studio. You will develop an eye for heat sources to keep in you room, a hair dryer is a great way to warm up your sleeping bag, a cheap air popper popcorn machine makes a snack as you warm your room, but be careful when cooking since just living in a cold room causes condensation which leads to mold related health problems so much more so with pots of boiling water. Running a fan in your squat while you are gone sometimes helps with condensation problems. If you just cant find a small room in the building you inhabit consider setting up a tent to live in or making a canopy bed (see Free Furniture) these are both small spaces you can cheaply heat if you have an electrical heater. Kerosene and propane heaters are available at most hardware stores and they produce great heat as long as you can afford the fuel although these also have a greater risk of fires if something flammable is placed too close. Do not fall into the temptation to bring in a charcoal stove for heat unless you have the gasses vented out a chimney, carbon monoxide is a known killer of squatters.

Staying warm

If you have no heat of electricity, insulate the walls with carpet or similar material, and use thick plastic to make tents for sleeping. You can use candles and kerosene heaters and lanterns, but don’t store kerosene near them or leave them burning while you are asleep or absent. Steal a fire extinguisher or two, or leave around buckets of sand or water, and put up smoke detectors.

Watch for heating vents on buildings and sidewalks, hand-dryers in bathrooms, and other public sources of air that can be used to expand inflatables, which can be custom-made to fit these sites. One folk scientist made a series of inflatable tents that could be attached to the outtake ducts of building ventilation systems to provide housing and warmth for their homeless occupants

You can make a hand-warmer out of a used Polaroid film canister once you’re done with it break the cartridge open, take out the battery to use for something else, and connect the wires — it’ll be quite hot for a few minutes.

You can keep a little warmer on those cold, cold nights by eating foods high in fats an hour before you go to sleep. It may also help to switch the layers of your clothing, so the one beside your skin si not damp with perspiration. No matterhow cold it is, don’t sleep in more than two pairs of socks — this will constrict your circulation, without which no amount of clothing can keep your feet warm.

You can make a pocket hand-warmer by filling a cloth bag with dry beans plus rice or corn and microwaving it; it should retain heat for a couple of hours and if you get hungry, you can always cook and eat your hand warmer.

You can keep warm in winter by lining the inside of your clothes with plastic; this will work best if you place the layer of plastic riht next to your skin, although it will make you sweat a lot.


If you can get a fan, all the better. We like the small cheap clamp-on models. You can make an improvised “swamp cooler” by putting a bowl of ice in front of the fan, and let the air blow across the ice. If you can find a rack to hang a towel or damp clothes in front of the fan (but not over it), wet the towel with water. As the water evaporates, it will cool the air. If you can get a hold of a small sprayer or ultrasonic fogger that generates a constant mist, you can spray the air in front of the fan. Just remember to keep the water away from the fan itself. Water and electricity don’t mix.

During the real dog days of summer a cool bucket of water for your feet can really make a difference, add a well ventilated chaise lounge and you are ready for a nice siesta.

The heat of the day is the ideal time to bathe and wash your clothes and wear them wet, you will feel clean and your damp clothes should keep you cool for a while. This works best in dry areas, but even in a humid place sitting in front of a fan with damp clothes will cool you down.

If you have made a squat inside a building with HVAC there might be a thermostat for you to manipulate. Most won’t allow you to set desired temperature but a hot pack in summer or ice pack or snowball in winter should get you closer to that desired temperature.


A PDA or small laptop gives you access to the net, if you are willing to pay corpgov for their cellular service you can get on almost anywhere but it is traceable to location and expensive. Better to hunt out a a free wi-fi hotspot, an open home network (a cantenna works great for these two), go to a local college / school computer lab or the nearest public library. Either find a program or write a script to download all of the websites you frequent at an open WiFi zone, that way you can quickly grab all of your daily news and reading in a minute or two and sit and enjoy it in your squat. A laptop, embedded device, or PDA with a DIY cantenna, yaggi, or patch antenna can often use wifi from a great distance if there is a line of sight

A good WiFi hacking tutorial can be found in the Internet Communications chapter.

Free internet can also be accessed in a library (sometimes you need a card, sometimes for a limited time). You can also go into your local Apple store and ‘try’ one of their laptops. They all have unlimited Internet access.

A Knoppix or Damn Small Linux disk lets you take over a Windows-owned machine and run your free unlimited system on it bypassing most blockages. A USB keychain drive lets you carry your files and photos as you document the fight and get your information out to the people. See alsoInternet Communications and Free-Telephones

A Word on Batteries, Solar, and “Wind-Up” Gadgets

You might see ads for various electrical devices (radios, flashlights, etc.) that generate their own power by wind-up motors. Many of the expensive ones often use a small rubber belt in the pulley drive that gets stretched out and slips after a few years. They are a bother to replace, if they can be replaced at all.

Others require LOTS of winding, since the hand crank is connected directly to the dynamo. It’s best to wind these things up to charge the on-board batteries when you have nothing else to do, since you want the power when you need it. Gadgets with a small solar panel are best.

If you can score rechargeable batteries and a charger, great. Just remember that plug-in chargers need constant voltage (the town library usually has a few unattended outlets), and some cheaper solar powered chargers need about two days of steady sunshine to charge the batteries. Also, rechargeable batteries lose their power in storage, so check the charge and try to keep them refreshed. If you can find a larger solar panel like is used by the road department on signs or the little ones from car lots for keeping car batteries charged, these will work more quickly than the little solar clamshell chargers.

see Cycling for bike generator charging andBackpacking andCamping for larger portable solar cells.

Pest Control

  • Keep your squat very clean, you might even consider eating and storing food in a different location than you sleep. Leaving your food in your pack is an invitation to have a mouse or rat chew a hole.

  • Shake out and wash if possible all clothing and sleeping bags as bedbugs like to collect here.

  • Vinegar can sometimes get rid of ants and roaches, if this fails try boric acid from the pharmacist/chemist or the hardware store. Remember, these insects don’t create or spread filth (in fact, they prefer to eat it or take it home), so instead of wearing yourself out smashing them individually, try to track down what’s attracting them and clean it up.

  • Bay leaves, mint, and other aromatic herbs will help keep insects out of your gear.

  • Citronella candles are expensive; try to find pure citronella oil sold for cleaning, this is the extracts of the oils from the citronella plant, it can be burned with a wick to drive off flying insects but also gives away your position from its strong citrus-like smell.

  • A buzz haircut helps avoid lice but if you have long hair a drop or two of olive oil on you comb every the morning is healthy for you hair and skin but also prevents the lice from finding a dry spot for gluing their eggs to your hair near the root.

  • Eating raw garlic will repel many insects including mosquitoes, it is no substitute for a net in areas infested with malaria or other flying insect carried illnesses.

  • In malaria country remember to tuck the mosquito net edges under your mattress at night after you have inspected for holes and mosquitoes, fold up and store during the day.

  • Don’t forget to take your malaria prevention meds every day in an afflicted area.

Hobos used to “boil up” every chance they got. What this meant was they would put their clothes and bedding into a tub of boiling water and hard boil any bugs or their eggs living in there. Frequently boiling up your clothes and bedding combined with buzzing your hair, pits, and pubes leaves very little place for the bugs to hang on.

Free Land

Last updated: 11 August 2011

A life without landlords is a common Americans dream real estate agencies love to sell. However, it takes a lot of work to own property without becoming a slave to financial institutions or the Government. A typical homeowner on a very small plot with a house in the suburbs usually has make payments for up to 30 years! If the owner loses their job or is forced to move, the property can be foreclosed, and sold at a fraction of the price to vulture investors with the banks still asking the difference .

Furthermore, because some Americans are worrisome creatures, there are many restrictions on what can and cannot be done to a piece of land. Zoning practices can keep you from setting up the front of a house as a storefront. In quite a few areas a home must be of a certain square footage to “keep up property values” (Read: more tax money for the slime balls in StateGov). Ritzy neighborhoods may have in place community covenants where your nosy neighbor could actually get you fined or force you to sell! Typical covenants range from required lawn mowing, not being able to change the oil in your car or even wok on it in your own driveway, even down to what colors you are allowed to paint your house.

However, some of the benefits of owning versus renting are great. There will be no landlord to tell you that you cannot grow eggplants in the backyard. Even if you want to knock out a wall to renovate, no one will stop you. Not to mention, even the worst loan contracts for buying a house or land are much more favorable than a renter’s lease if hard times fall.

So get some free land and tell the landlord to shove it!


  • 1 Adverse Possession

  • 1.1 Repo Your Own House From the Bank

  • 2 Buying Cheap Land

  • 2.1 Free Kansas land

  • 3 Developing Undeveloped Land / Keeping Cheap Land

  • 3.1 Undeveloped Land

  • 3.1.1 Should I commit to building a home?

  • 3.1.2 Time

  • 3.1.3 Cost

  • 3.1.4 Questions to Ask Yourself

  • 3.1.5 How to Build A Home

  • 3.2 Cheap home, urban setting

  • 3.3 Building codes and how even anarchists can follow them

  • 4 Into the wild

Adverse Possession

Adverse possession AKA squatters rights is an ancient common law legal process now codified into law in most English speaking areas. It essentially consists of acquiring legal title to a piece of property belonging to another party after spending a specified amount of undisturbed time acting like you are the owner and sometimes also making certain improvements on the property. This law covers both rural and urban properties. If the family of a passed relative forgets about a property or you move in quickly and clean up an abandoned or foreclosed house as though you had purchased it there is no reason that anyone would suspect anything until several years later when you make your claim with the county or state for full legal title. It might even be possible to assure repayment for your improvements and place a lien on a property in case the owners ever return and demand the property before you can make your claim, in the face of the lien they may just leave you alone. Unfortunately one of the obligations of an owner is paying property taxes, but to make finding a property easier look on the county or state unpaid property tax rolls, this might help you narrow your search for abandoned property. So paying taxes is one good way to document that you are using the property, the good news is most counties will happily accept tax checks from both parties usually not telling the old owner what you are doing. A great way to establish a claim is to arrange for a friend with a squeaky clean look and record to ‘trespass’ on your squatted land as soon as possible after settling down, call it in to the cops, maybe they come by maybe not, this will leave a record in the police blotter that you are acting as the exclusive landowner.

It is important to be vague on how you entered a structure to occupy it, breaking and entering is hard to prove unless you admit it, in the US the 5 th amendment means you can’t be forced to testify against yourself, if the cops or anyone else ever asked just say you legally entered the premises, your home, and moved in, nothing more. If neighbors ask just say that you have a deal with the state and bank be vague, some neighbors will be jealous if they see you grab a free house that once belonged to their friend and might expend foolish amounts of time an money to keep you from getting your free lunch.

All you need is the balls to do this easy task and for one occupation you a street kid can be picking up homes for free, the equivalent of a six figure income, more if you adverse possess something in downtown Manhattan or Hollywood hills. If you decide to adverse posses additional properties and rent them out this is also a way to occupy the property in order to meet the statutory requirements, ordinary property owners rent out houses all the time and so can you in addition the contract is legal proof that you are acting as exclusive property owner. Now is the time for the rebellion to legally grab the free unused land, buildings, and means of production before the laws change or property values return to sanity.

What is important is that you meet the following conditions:

  • You must actually occupy and use the property in the way a real owner would.

  • Your occupation must be open and obvious, stealthy squats do not qualify.

  • Your occupation must be exclusive, the current title holder must not concurrently enjoy any use of the property and you must be the only person openly acting as the landowner or landlord.

  • Your possession must be hostile as in it must not be with the permission of the property owner, and hostile to his interest in retaining ownership of the property.

  • You must be able to document that you have been acting as the landowner for the full period required by law without interruption.

  • Claim to legal title must be either based on what is assumed to be legal title or squatters rights as established in state law.

  • The statutory period or statute of limitations as established by law must have been met, it might be possible to count a previous squatters occupation and transfer to you as part of the legally required total occupation period.

A property owner may make the following defenses to block your claim to title in squatted lands or property by the following:

  • Permissive use, you had permission to use or live on the land from the owner, pretty much never talk to or have any contact with the former owner without a lawyer skilled in property law and adverse possession present.

  • Public lands may be exempt from adverse possession rights.

  • The owner may make a defense that you did not make sufficient use of the property to establish your claim.

  • The owner may claim that he or others also acted in the manner of a property owner during your period of adverse possession.

  • It may be claimed that your possession did meet the full required statutory period or that there was an interruption of your occupation.

Because you will likely assume tax responsibility it might be better for some squatters to claim easement rights to dwell and use the property while leaving the landlord in actual possession with tax liability. If he is somehow able to drive you off for a specified period of time after you win adverse possession without you suing him for damages or filing a complaint he regains full rights to the land under the same legal theory.

Repo Your Own House From the Bank

Especially now with the foreclosure mess and housing bust you may be foreclosed out of your house, if you go along with that and move your stuff to storage there is no reason not to move back. The trick is that banks don’t want to be responsible for a foreclosed property but if they don’t kick people out there would be no societal stick to keep everyone paying mortgages. They will foreclose in court but not take title, this is an easy search in county records to find out, you still have your paperwork right? You can move back in and tell your neighbors you made a deal and now own the home outright, make the vague deal sound heartbreakingly expensive so they wont get jealous and poke around. Your old paperwork will probably work fine to reconnect the utilities and everything should be ducky until you can ride out the often shorter with-paperwork possession time period have the court give you your clear title and you will own the home you were cast out of by the bank without paying another penny to the banksters. As always it is good to invest some money to have the advice of a lawyer competent in this area of law advise you especially since you wont have a mortgage to worry about.

Buying Cheap Land

If you are wishing for the ultimate retreat or the future site of your own revolutionary compound, rural land can sometimes be picked up reasonably. By reasonable, we mean around 5,000 to 20,000 USD for a usable large parcel of land out in the sticks ranging from 5 acres to 10. Of course, the price jumps exponentially the nearer to a city you get or if any resources like timber, or farm structures are located on it. Note, that this does not include the possibility that you may have to pay the power company and telephone company to run wires, a water company to lay pipe, or need to install a septic system. Nor does a land for this price usually include a house.

Craigslist and eBay can be good places for the frugal Revolutionary to look for cheap land, but do not shy away from a good realtor either. While the Realtor wants a commission, all state certified realtors have access to a database of all land being sold in the state they do business in — even many not listed in newspapers or on the web. That includes cheap land as well as luxury country club mansions. Most realtors will even offer free rides to the land to “show” it to you and will help you with the massive paperwork and financing. Be forewarned: Many of the really cheap properties listed are out in the desert, only accessible across miles of very rough road. Some may be located in flood plains than stay underwater every good rain or may be out in the swamps only accessible by boat. Most will have no utilities or cellphone coverage, or have no real farmible or arable land, and the nearest source of water may be miles away. If the main selling point is that the land is “affordable”, it may be going cheap because no one wants to buy it. Also, get a property lawyer always to keep from getting screwed.

Speaking of rural land, you can still try using the antiquated free mining claim laws. Unfortunately, it appears that this frontier option is only left open for megacorps today with good legal departments. Even if a mining claim can be made legit, we are doubtful on the option of camping out on the land. The laws as we read them seem to imply actual documented mining activity and forbid all camping or residential structures on the claim without a prior waiver from the US Department of the Interior.

If being isolated out in the middle of nowhere just is not your style, there also deals to be found in many cities with a bit of research or the help of a realtor, if you tell the realtor exactly what you are looking for. Many cities have blighted housing which they cannot afford to tear down. Most of the time, you get a sliver of land with a dangerously messed up house for 2000 USD to 10000 USD. Problem is, most of the time, the city is going to give you a set time frame to demolish the house or make efforts to fix it or end up taking it back in short order. They may want to see that you have the funds in a bank to do this. Now, if you have useful trade skills like electrician, plumbing, and carpentry — you are golden. But, if you have no skills or the cash, it can sometimes take more cash to fix up than would be to go into debt slavery to buy a small place with few problems.

Free Kansas land

Kansas has a program to reverse certain county’s negative population growth trend. Certain counties in Kansas offer plots of free land around the size of 10k-30k sq. feet, or about half an acre, or about a 1/3rd a size of a football field. They do this in exchange for the promise that someone will move to this land.

Usually the acquisition of this land requires that you demonstrate that you plan to build a house on this land soon after acquiring it. This means that you need to install a pre-manufactured home, have a contractor build on site, or build the house yourself. The land’s still free and usually in an accessible area (and if there aren’t roads, often the town will split the cost of developing a basic road with you), you just need to build a house. This program is only useful if you’re looking for residential land.

Kansas Free Land (http7/kansasfreeland.com/)

Developing Undeveloped Land / Keeping Cheap Land

If you buy a plot, and you want to use it as a place to live without having to worry about occasional run-ins with the police, you will need to do three things.

1. If there is no residential structure (house/trailer) there already, build one or move one in.

2. Pay property taxes once a year.

3. Build/keep any residential structures up to code.

Doing these things not only keeps you out of the cross-hairs of the state, but it makes you look like a model citizen in the eyes of the public, even if you have weird ideas, and make unusual decisions about what plot of land.

As already discussed, here are the three ways to get cheap land.

  • buying/getting for free undeveloped land and building a house on it

  • buying/adverse possession of a cheap home in a run-down, depopulated district of a city or town

  • buying a cheap home in a rural area where property values are rock-bottom===

Let's examine how the above three obligations apply to each of these methods.

Undeveloped Land

If you're interested in "roughing it" out in nature (in which case, see the "Into the Wild" section below), you can get away (at least until you're found out) with building your own home that's entirely not to code, and not paying property taxes at all.

But in all other cases you'll need to pay property taxes or you'll get in trouble. It's not impossible to use property inspectors to your advantage if you feel the state is overcharging you, or simply find a state with very low property taxes. But taxes are the most basic way the government pushes people into wider participation in and support of the general corporate economy. In that way, they are very important to government, and tax evasion is one of most actively prosecuted behaviors. This is not a movie. You cannot take on the entirety of the government on your own. If you want to buy a piece of land just for you and a couple of people, you are generally going to have to pay property taxes. That's the game.

Likewise, if you build a home yourself in an area where it might receive electricity or water, then it's an area where it will be quickly found out that you're building a home. You're going to need a permit for that. Even if you're building an unorthodox residential structure, most local civil employees will actually be glad to work with you on licensing you to build it (cool, kooky eco-homes, or eco-communities could equal tourist money. Even with that out of mind though, municipal civil employees have slow workdays). It is a mistake to assume that just because you are doing some things which subvert a larger socioeconomic system, that the entirety of the legal system is angling to destroy you. It's not.

Should I commit to building a home?

Building a home yourself, and especially building a home to code, is hard work that requires dedication, lots of time, and lots of money. Building your own home is an expression of conspicuous leisure, won't overthrow the man, and is not the most efficient cost-effective way to get a home.

Are there good reasons for building your own home? That's for you to decide. But building a home is a commitment. You have to decide why you're doing this before you start.


If you have never touched a power tool in your life, then expect to take at least a year, and very likely more than two years. This will be the case even if you can occasionally enlist a friend, or have a partner who is working with you on it. In fact, this will be the case even if you are well-versed in some of the tasks that come into play in construction or remodeling (drywall, finish carpentry, tiling, etc.) The only way you can expect to beat the one-year mark or bring the home reliably close to the one-year mark is if you have spent years working in remodeling or construction.


If you are experienced, building a 1-story, 1000 sq. ft. home (including buying tools on site) may set you back only 10­15,000. If you are new at this, it will probably set you back 20-30,000. This is not including lodging and food for the time you spend building it. Unlike buying a house for $15,000, a single person (who hasn't run their own one-man construction business for the past few years) can't get a loan which they can pay back over years. So buying a 15,000 home will hurt your wallet less than spending $15,000 to make your own home

Questions to Ask Yourself

Although it would be really cool to build your own home and get you lots of street cred, it is wise to put aside those childish considerations when deciding whether to do it. Building a home is very isolating, will take up a large chunk of your life and will likely give you a back injury or two.

Before building a home, ask yourself these questions:

  • Why am I doing this? What do I get out of it? Is the reason I am doing this a good enough reason to be worth all the hours and dangers I will face in building a home?

  • Could I complete this home faster by simply working a job and then paying a few people or a company which is better and faster at building homes than I am to build it?

  • Am I building this house to live in, or am I trying to build it to a level of quality where I could sell it and get some money back? If I am building it to live in, do I really want to chain myself to this area for several years afterward? Would building it "worth it" if I might want to move away a year or so down the line anyway? What if I lose my source of income and must move far away?

  • (Let's be honest now) Am I building this to prove something to myself, impress my friends, or impress people I am attracted to (and then get laid more)? Do I really need to prove something to myself? And... do I really want to hang with folks that only like me if I have a house they can move into or crash and party at? Merely owning possessions that increases social acceptance does not solve issues like low self esteem or poor interaction skills.

  • If I am in a corpgov approved marriage with an actual marriage license (or been living with the same person for years under common law), have I made arrangements on who will get the property after all this work if the relationship turns sour? Selling off during a divorce can often mean selling at a loss or losing the place outright to a vindictive spouse with a good lawyer. Property owned before a marriage can be taken, too if the spouse can claim they contributed towards the equity of it. But, this depends on state.

How to Build A Home

Buy a book. Lots of books. Go to public.resource.org for building codes. Start reading. The majority of your time needs to be spent on research beforehand. If you do all your learning "as needed"/"as you go," you will make many, many costly mistakes and end up spending much more time and money on fixing those mistakes then you would have if you didn't make them in the first place. This will also give you a sense for how very much work needs to be done.

Altogether, this wiki is not the place for a complete guide on construction.

Cheap home, urban setting

As usual, property tax depends on the state. If it's based off of property value like in California, then that helps you out a lot. Then again, you might not want to buy in California as Prop. 13 has created a housing market where even broken down house's have an artificially inflated property value and cost.

That said, the problem of keeping this new cheap property by remodeling and keeping the building up to code can be approached three obvious ways:

  • Buy a home that may need substantial remodeling, and pay for the basics or do it yourself.

No need to make the place last another century, but this is an opportunity to take care of all those holes in the floor.

  • Seek out a home in a run-down area that doesn't need too much remodeling.

There are plenty of homes in Detroit which are on sale for $1 because they're in a largely-vacant neighborhood whose only residents are rabid dogs and career criminals. Many of the homes in neighborhoods are falling apart and need remodeling, but there are quite a few which don't and only have such a low property value because of the setting.

  • Seek out a home in a run-down area in a metropolis that is so busy with its own problems, it won't pay any attention to yours.

In many poor neighborhoods, say far far south (past 80th st.) Chicago, falling-apart homes in poor neighborhoods is just the way life is there. You're likely to get in trouble if you're squatting, as its a common crime there so police watch out for it, but there are plenty of other people there who do it. And if you buy your own place in the neighborhood, if you do anything to keep the home up, that's still much better then the landlords around you, and you'll be left alone. Of course, if you're white, you're probably going to stand out in the neighborhood quite a bit for blocks in any direction and no matter what you'd like to think your skin color is a force for gentrification and your neighbors being pushed out of their homes. But if you're concerned about the hostility from that, you can always go for the poor white areas. Nothing wrong with living like everyone else in this country does - flat broke.

Building codes and how even anarchists can follow them

Whether you buy a home, are building your own, or are trying to acquire a home through adverse possession, you will have to do construction or remodeling of some kind to keep it up to code. Most radical types I know scoff at building codes as just some capitalist obstacle meant to hinder their free-thinking. It's not that simple.

Building licenses and Building Codes are there for a good reason

They're part of the process by which our society makes sure buildings which the majority of the populace ends up in are safe and don't kill anyone. Although in a different society, a different process could be used with more friendly human interaction, this is a process that has been built to work within the capitalist system to put a limit on reckless corporate behavior. You will find that because of its undiscriminating gaze, though, that it also greatly constrains your small-time personal behavior in building a home. In that sense, codes do make building a home inaccessible for the "little man" who does not have a pile of money or time.

As unfair as it may seem, there is a good reason for all this red tape. What may strike you as a nice but usually unnecessary feature (mandatory height distances from floors to outlets in basements, GFCI outlets in all bathrooms) will occur in the same way to many a thrifty contractor, and many home-building contractors or teams are just as small-time as you and your friends are. If everyone got to build what they personally thought was "safe enough," and made that decision around avoiding personal inconvenience and expenditure, we'd have a lot of unnecessary deaths in this country. Although the existence of building codes could be posed as a sacrificing-freedom-for-security tradeoff, it is without doubt that if these codes were not mandatory (and thus home safety was determined by the capitalist market), no home that was affordable to the poor would adhere to them in the slightest, and thus choice of home design would be a "freedom" and a luxury that only the rich could afford. Instead of assuring freedom to the poor, most of the poor would still be confined in their choice of residence, only now to one which was manifestly unsafe to save development moguls a few dollars.

Getting city approval and cooperation doesn't have to be difficult

As a result, if you are building or significantly remodeling a home (rather than just, say, changing the flooring up) you're going to need to learn a lot about building codes, and interact with a lot of government employees (property inspectors, HUD clerks, courts, you name it). As mentioned above, it is a mistake to assume that just because you are doing some things which subvert a larger socioeconomic system, that the entirety of the legal system is angling to destroy you. It's not.

For example, municipal, small-time civil servants like these are often disconnected from the machine enough to appreciate (when presented to them properly) that the letter of the law is not the spirit of the law. If you are seeking to develop a unique home, do unordinary remodeling, or in any sense build your own home in their county most of them will be happy to work with you, guide you through the process, and give you leeway and flexibility when you're having trouble doing something. This is not always the case: some of them are hardasses, or will be antagonistic to you. The best way to get a municipal building inspector antagonistic to you is to assume a relationship of antagonism from the start.

How to make city approval and cooperation difficult

For example, if you are building a home, don't go in there having never built a house in your life with the clear belief that because you are an anarchist/communist/free thinker/environmentalist/whatever that you will be able to build in one or two years a specialty home that is safer, more efficient, and better designed than any home all of Western civilization has built in the last hundreds of years.

Drop the attitude. Don't be condescending or patronizing. Your worldview may be superior, they may be living an empty, boring life, and you might really be right about how much smarter you are than everyone, but be smart and keep your mouth shut about it while you're there. When someone feels that you don't respect them or are making fun of them, they're much less likely to help you out. You already know how radical you are, and they don't need to know, so there's no need to make this about how radical you are.

You are entering their domain and field of expertise and they are doing you a favor: show respect for their customs like you would if you were a visitor or intruder anywhere. Dress like them (business casual or blue-collar clothes when you go to their office, blue-collar clothes on-site), look like them (have someone go in there / meet them who doesn't have dreads or a rat tail, cover up tattoos at least to the elbow, remove piercings if convenient and possible), talk like them (keep slang to a minimum, especially "ironic" or mocking slang).


If you have unusual goals for building or remodeling projects, figure it out, do your homework, and go in there all­business about addressing that goal. Be assertive, but only about what you're there to do. You're just another person going in there to work on a building project. They are the place to go to for help, and they are there to help you. Don't bring your ideology into it. The average Jane or Joe is happily willing to help you with an unusual, interesting, or small­time building or remodeling effort. But they are not interested in indulging your ego. Don't bring it up.

Into the wild

In the 60s there was a big move of hippies living rough in national parks, some communities still exist today:

  • In Alaska you can stay in logging cabins undisturbed.

  • In Humboldt county people camp out growing masses of weed, too much for police to find and destroy.

  • In Berkley, yippies turned a barren parking lot into a community center with grass, swings, free-form sculpture and gardens. The University of California, with the aid of Ronald Reagan and the Berkeley storm troopers, fought with guns, clubs and tear gas to regain the land from the outlaw people. The pigs killed James Rector and won an empty victory. For now the park is fenced off, tarred over and converted into unused basketball courts and unused parking lots. Not one person has violated the oath never to set foot on the site. It stands, cold and empty, two blocks north of crowded Telegraph Avenue. If the revolution does not survive, all the land will perish under the steam roller of imperialism. People's Death Valley will happen in our lifetime. The Berkeley People's Park reopened in 1972 and is accepted by the University as a park. However, activists and police still clash over it sometimes, and the fascists from the '60s have no regrets for their actions, not even the murder. There is a very good article at the moment on the English Wikipedia (https7/secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/People%27s_Park) .


Last updated: 5 April 2011

Backpacking and Camping are both viable ways to live without a permanent address. Backpacking implies much more mobility and deeper wilderness, the equipment is mostly suitable for touring both on foot and by bicycle. Camping is more stable and often involves more comfortable bedding and cooking equipment. A camper hitches a ride, drives, or even uses a trailer, while a backpacker can easily move on his own. See also Camping

  • 1 Backpacking

  • 2 Packs

  • 2.1 Internal vs. External Frame Packs

  • 2.2 Daypacks

  • 3 Sleeping Gear

  • 3.1 Sleeping Bags

  • 3.2 Sleeping Pads

  • 3.3 Bivvy Sack

  • 3.4 Hammock

  • 4 Food Preparation

  • 4.1 Stoves

  • 4.1.1 Liquid Fuel

  • 4.1.2 Compressed Gas

  • 4.2 Open Fuel

  • 4.2.1 Solid Fuels

  • 4.2.2 Triangia Stove

  • 4.2.3 Drink Can Stove

  • 4.3 Pots

  • 4.4 Refrigeration

  • 4.5 Pressure Cooker

  • 4.6 Insulation

  • 4.7 Mess Kit

  • 5 Forest Forage

  • 6 Water

  • 6.1 Purification

  • 6.2 Drinking Systems

  • 6.3 Giardia

  • 6.4 Hydration

  • 7 Clothing

  • 7.1 Footwear

  • 7.2 Clothes

  • 7.3 Jacket

  • 7.4 Hat

  • 7.5 Underwear

  • 8 Electronics

  • 8.1 Communications

  • 8.1.1 HF Radio

  • 8.1.2 Handheld Radios

  • 8.1.3 Packable Sat-Com

  • 8.1.4 Sat-Phone

  • 8.1.5 Primitive

  • 8.2 Power Generation

  • 9 Light

  • 9.1 Flashlight and Headlight

  • 10 Bug Repellent

  • 11 Navigation

  • 12 Toilet

  • 13 Walking Sticks

  • 14 Tools and Repairs

  • 15 Other Skills

  • 15.1 Cycling

  • 15.2 Skiing

  • 16 Ultralight

  • 17 Where to Stealth/Free Camp

  • 18 Washing

  • 18.1 Hot Springs

  • 19 Deep Wilderness

  • 20 Avoiding Vagrancy Problems


Contrary to what the magazines and gear shoppes would like you to think you don't need to have the most expensive equipment money can buy to take to the hills. There is sometimes a trade off in comfort, weight, and function with the expensive gear, but never let price keep you from choosing this option, we hope some of our ideas can get you out without breaking your budget. Often the price difference in the ultra$$ brands is because of expensive advertising. Just remember many successful hobos and cowboys only had a tarp, a blanket, a pocket knife, a spoon, some rope to make a blanket bundle bag and a old can or pot to cook stew over an open wood fire.

Don't forget to visit mom and pop army-navy surplus stores for lots of weird junk mixed with some useful and sometimes very high quality camping gear, unless you swiped it from a base a bit of the money from surplus supports some generals slush fund, but the deep discounts are worth it, just watch out for obsolete, worn out, heavy, or low quality gear. Unfortunately unless you move fast most of the best deals are quickly grabbed and sold at online auctions.

Lastly a good general rule especially for used or DIY gear is to test it out like you plan to use it. Eat your planned camping menu while you are working a heavy physical labor job or training for sports to ensure it really satisfies you. Cook a meal or two on a multifuel stove using diesel fuel or old gasoline on a windy day. Set up your tent at night or in the wind. Spray the tent, bivvy sack, or your rain gear with a garden hose. Wear your loaded pack and trail boots on several local hikes. Camp in the backyard or park in your sleeping bag. If you figure out the problems and limits in a safe environment you will be ready and equipped properly in the deep wilderness. There is something to be said for the power of learning in the school of hard knocks, but minimize the pain and save the knocks for bigger lessons.


A quality pack is very important, fit is very personal, you need to try on the loaded pack (take 30-50 lbs of well sacked sand bags or call ahead and see if the store has some) before you buy and walk around for at least an hour.

Quality external frame packs while not in vogue are often cheaper and let you carry lots of heavy gear, the internal frame packs hug tight to your body giving you more stability. Be sure the straps are comfortable on your shoulders and chest and that the sternum strap can be moved to a comfortable place Women especially need to find a pack with shoulder straps contoured to not rub their armpits or breasts when cinched tight.

The old US Army ALICE (All-Purpose Lightweight Individual Carrying Equipment) frame pack is an excellent buy if you can find one in good shape on the surplus market and it fits you, don't pay over $30-40.

Care must be exercised since a high priced pack might have bad stitching or components and a really good pack might be sold for very cheap if it is a brand unknown in the US.

Things to look for: well ventilated back pad, anti-damp shoulder straps and belt pad, useful outside pockets, drinking system compatibility, gear attachment loops, modularity, quality zippers, and durability especially at the shoulder straps and seams.

A pack cover with a draw string protects your pack from rain and also makes it difficult for pickpockets to quickly find the zippers. A pack cover could be reversed to cover straps during air travel.

Internal vs. External Frame Packs

There are two main styles of backpacks: Internal Frame packs and External Frame packs. As the name implies, internal frame packs have frames inside the pack and usually consist of two metal slats that are molded to one's contours. Internal frame packs offer more control of weight and are often more comfortable. An external frame pack consist of a frame in which a bag and straps are attached separately. External frame packs allow more air flow between the packer's back and the pack. Also, external frame packs are offer more compartments allowing for better organization where an internal frame offers one main compartment and a few external pockets. While external frame packs can be loaded as much as needed by attaching more compartments and hanging items, the contents tend to be more exposed to the elements and the pack is noticeably heavier in deadweight than an internal frame. Talk to your local outdoor outfitter to see which one is best for you.


When traveling by train, bus, or airplane find a good daypack that is comfortable when either attached to the main pack straps or looped forward on your arms as well as when you wear it on your back. Keep your valuables in the front day pack where you have control of it an leave your bulky stuff in the main pack. This method makes you an easier target for robbery since you will have difficulty defending yourself and is best for moving in terminals or short walks to a hotel or hostel. A good daypack is useful if you are setting up a secure base camp and taking hikes or overnight trips from there.

Small light-duty backpacks and tote bags are available which fit into a key chain or back pocket and weigh almost nothing. Stuffable packs are good for unexpected shopping when walking or cycling, it is also a good place to stick a jacket or sweater if the weather gets hot.

Sleeping Gear

See Camping for picking the right tent and living out of it.

Sleeping Bags

The price difference in sleeping bags is mostly a factor of name brand style, weight, and packed size versus warmth. The difference is in the construction, fill material, the shell, and in the lining. The shell is usually nylon and is thin or thick depending on if durability or weight are desired, for any shell the weave should be tight to prevent snags. Fill material available is constantly changing, 600 goose down is the gold standard for insulation but is worthless if wet, we don't recommend it. Synthetics claim many qualities, but good fluff is what you really need; claims of new 3D fibers and such pop up every few years, be skeptical of amazing powers contained in the newest expensive fiber filling. Lining is usually nylon, coolmax, or a nylon-cotton mix, the cotton and coolmax synthetics make the liner more comfortable in hot weather, while nylon is lighter weight. Multi day camping trips or people in homelessnes situations should avoid sleeping bags with cotton as an ingredient in the bag liner and fill, synthetic mixes are now made which simulate the comfort of cotton but dry quickly. Cotton makes warm summer nights and entry during cold nights during indoor sleepovers more comfortable if it gets wet it is nearly impossible to dry out without a serious heat source. Construction is very important, some features mentioned only apply to a mummy style or rectangle bag, look for the following: neck and face draw-strings, quality (YKK is good) zippers, full length zippers, compatibility to zip two bags together, hang loops, mesh gear pocket, foot contour, thicker insulation on bottom, and box baffling of insulation.

A low temperature and a medium temperature mummy bag give you a modular extreme cold system, nest the smaller bag inside the larger for very cold nights, and in warmer weather if the zippers match you have room for two.

Many inexpensive sleeping bags can now be found to include many of the features needed to keep warm even in cooler temperatures, while not performing badly in terms of weight and packing. An army poncho liner blanket is very light and can be stuffed into any place in your bag where you feel cold.

A coton or silk liner makes entry during winter more comfortable althugh we recommend sleeping in your long underwear and some loose fitting fiber filled warm slippers. A bag liner makes keeping the sleeping bag clean easy too just wash that since you are not in contact with the sleeping bag, and you can use it as a hostel sheet in summer when couch surfing.

In nice weather a sleeping bag or blanket is enough, the dew that forms will evaporate quickly in the morning. Sleeping under the stars is great until the bugs arrive Sewing a section of insect net onto the opening of your bag or just including it in the stuff sack is a very cheap way to avoid the itchies at the least and nasty stuff like West Nile virus or even Malaria in some areas. If it stays on your head a baseball cap is a great way to keep the bug screen off of your face as you sleep outside.

If you're really down and out, one or more of the "lint" blankets given away by homeless shelters inside of a taped or melted-shut piece of visqueen plastic sheeting will keep you warm and block the wind, but the blankets and bag need to be seperated and dried out every day.

Sleeping Pads

The best choice for a sleeping pad is a well made self inflating pad, it is both light and durable. However, if you are on a budget, stick with the old indestructible closed-cell foam roll-up mat, it will keep you warm and dry, but packs big. Cardboard or newspaper can be used to insulate yourself from the ground. Be sure to avoid sleeping with little-to-no insulation, especially if in the woods, as temperature changes and dampness can make you uncomfortable and even sick.

Bivvy Sack

A quality Gore-tex bivvy sack will set you back about $300 unless you can find a military surplus one. These manufactured bags are of high quality, tough, and waterproof. A bivvy sack is almost weightless when compared with a tent and greatly increases the cold rating of a sleeping bag. Quality bivvy sacks usually load from the top only because it is very difficult to have a leak proof zipper. They usually also have a zip-shut bug screen for the face and a draw string to close the opening.

Gore-tex type waterproof but water vapor passable fabric can be found at some large fabric stores. You might mix a few unmatched remnants to save money, remembering that every seam is a potential leak point (so be sure to seal them well!), the bottom can be ordinary waterproof fabric if you need to save money.


Your hammock is a good way to stay stealthy, cool, and comfortable in hot weather, you also don't need to worry about how rocky or uneven the terrain is, even a steep hillside will work for a stealth campsite. If you are properly tied in with a harness or safety belt(if you don't tie into an anchor and your harness it is an easy way to die in your sleep) you can even hammock up on a rock face, building sit in, or tree sit using tree or rock anchor points or bolts. Best of all even a fancy tent hammock will weigh in at less than a kilogram.

Don't wear your shoes in your hammock, this causes wear on the mesh or fabric, lying on your side at an angle to the centerline can make finding a comfortable position easier. Try to use wide straps to wrap around trees or find another way to protect the bark. Check that a tree is strong before jumping into your hammock, a rotten tree might look fine especially at night but as you lay down the cord tension multiplied by pulling at an angle could pull a rotten tree down and easily smash a joint or snap bone, maybe your thick skull, a good hard shake or shove should do the trick for a safety check.

If you hang a tarp like a tent on a piece of cord strung over your hammock you will protect yourself from rain and gain a bit of privacy, it is a good to stake down the corners with a bit of cord if you want to have better wind and rain protection. If the weather is nice your tarp line can also be used to hang a bug screen, be sure to tie it below you or tuck under your sleeping bag. Use a bivvy sack if it looks like a real bad storm is coming. It is now possible to purchase one piece tented-over hammocks which are both bug and rain protection. A cut down sleeping pad will protect you from cold air below you, the hammock compresses your sleeping bag reducing its effectiveness on the bottom.

Don't be intimidated by the price of combo tent hammocks at high end backpacking and cycle shops, while well worth the money if purchased used, most $5-10 cheap mesh hammocks work good for starting out or lighter people and the expensive tent type hammock can be DIY made. The best DIY trick we have found is to double over the last six inches of hammock fabric and wrap your hang cords around the bent fabric about ten times and tie tight in a fisherman type knot. The Hennessey brand tent/screen hammock we tried was expensive but has two features worthy of copying, a centerline entry slit about 2/3 of a meter in the foot area which allows the bug net to be sewn directly to the medium weight nylon hammock and an angled rectangular asymmetrical hammock footprint allowing the sleeper to rest off of the center angle for more comfort, a last nice feature was a centerline adjustable cord which kept the bug net out of the face and held up a small pouch for our glasses or a LED reading light. The person doing the testing found that her silnylon rain poncho was a drop in replacement for the manufacturers rain fly saving her a few grams of weight.

Like in stealth tenting look for a little bit of brush between you and the public areas sticking to dull colors for gear.

Food Preparation

For camp and backpacking recipes see Roadside Chow

Liquid Fuel

For vagabonding, international, and back country travel real multi-fuel backpacking stoves with a heavy and light fuel jets tend to be the best as at least one of the following fuels: gasoline, Coleman fuel, white gas, stoddard solvent, drip gas(from natural gas wells), some charcoal lighter fluid, naptha, lighter fluid, should work on the light fuels jet; heavy fuels jet should burn furnace fuel, jet fuel, kerosene, or diesel fuel. Around the world you should be able to ferret out something that is available, but remember alcohol will ruin the seals so if that is the only stuff available make a pepsi can stove. Biodiesel has been shown to work in some kerosene stoves but you must be sure it is a lye processed biodiesel and not one that contains alcohol which will ruin your o­rings. Liquid fuel stoves generally put out the most heat, some enough for melting snow in large volumes. Some of us really like the MSR Whisperlite International(the regular Whisperite only burns Coleman fuel), and MSR XGK, although they are both expensive new (the Whisperlite will set you back about $100, the XGK is about $160.) They burn most any liquid fuel and can get volcano-hot, so be careful! The Whisperlite simmers better and packs smaller, while the XGK is tough and burns like an afterburner. They are still running years later with only the tools that they came with. It really comes down to the old adage, "you get what you pay for." There are other good stoves on the market like the Optimus Nova, MSR Dragonfly, and Primus Multifuel so visit a few camping gear stores, and do some research. Here is a good site to learn about alternative fuels http://zenstoves.net/Fuels.htm

Remember that most of the pressure stoves on the market will do the job, white gas is for all intents and purposes gasoline, ordinary gasoline (NOT biogas or E85) will burn nearly the same as the far more expensive, specialized white gas. Used gear from a yard sale or junk shop can often be fixed by cleaning the generator tube and jet tip on better stoves or replacing the generator tube on the more common Coleman and clones small stoves. Be very careful to know what fuels your stove is rated to burn before buying; most better multi-fuel stoves have one jet for light fuels like gasoline or white gas and a second for kerosene and diesel, if the alternative fuel jet or other parts are missing you can often order another or just get a service kit with new jets and other repair parts.

Since these stoves require a warm up period especially with some of the heavier fuels always light outside your tent and use extreme caution even when you think you have the flame under control. Inside a building only light a stove in a real fireplace with open chimney and flue, use of a warmed up stove inside a kitchen on a large stone counter or on top of an oven might be safe if burning kerosene but often results in carbon blackening of paint especially the ceiling.

Compressed Gas

Compressed gas stoves are lighter, easier to control, and can be cheaper. Compressed gas stoves, with due caution, can even be used inside your tent fly vestibule to cook during rain and snow. Some gas stoves include a non-battery piezo-electric spark igniter.

Open Fuel

This category covers pellet, alcohol, and wood stoves as well as many other improvised stoves.

Solid Fuels

Fuel pellet stoves like the Esbit or butterfly stove fold small and light, are very cheap up front for both stove and a few days of fuel pellets, and you can mail the fuel to yourself to pick up as postal general delivery but are usually only used for emergencies due to fuel pellet prices over time. Esbit folding butterfly stoves are a good emergency stove and don't take up much room. The Hexamine fuel pills, which look like large sugar cubes or horse pills, burn hot and give off no smoke. The bad side is that they often give a strong smell and noxious fumes (so never cook food directly over them outside of a pot or pan), can leave a heavy residue on your cookware, and are expensive compared to other fuel sources.

There are also a few fan blown wood scrap burners which makes your fuel price free and you just need batteries for the fan.

An interesting improvised stove is one made from an old oil filter and some welded steel break line, a feed hole is cut near the bottom and ash holes on the bottom a steel tube several inches long is attached a few inches up and it looks like a pipe with a giant bowl. Plastic or rubber tube is attached and a small double bellows is connected to the tube to blow the flame or you can use your lungs, good heat and easy lighting make this a real winner even in damp areas especially since it uses wood and bark bits as fuel.

The hobo stove, DIY chimney or rocket stoves, and charcoal pre-heater cans also work as good camping stoves.

Triangia Stove

Triangia of Sweden makes an ultra light cook set which includes an open top alcohol burner, It's not as fast to boil as cartridge gas but it's cheaper safer than petrol/kerosene stoves indoors when it comes to fumes, although it shares the splashed or bumped fuel spill fire hazard with the DIY soft drink can stove. It can be difficult to find spirit/alcohol stove fuels in some countries but always check for liquid fondue fuel and chafing dish fuel also a search in the paint thinner section at different hardware stores, fuel line antifreeze like Heet, or the hard liquor section for 95% or higher alcohol. Don't use Isopropyl alcohol often sold as rubbing alcohol if possible, it is often only 70% with 30% water robbing a large percentage of its heating ability and often leaving behind water after burning the alcohol out, in any case it burns leaving soot on your pots and is poison, consider burning iso-alcohol straight in a small can instead of a jetted stove.

Drink Can Stove

An inexpensive spirit(alcohol) stove can be made from 2 soft drink cans. Both cans are cut about 4cm above the bottom and the center flat/dome of the bottom is removed from one, force the cut out center piece into the uncut half. Stretching one cut can with an unopened full soft drink can makes this easier, a few drops of water in the can to be stretched can be heated with a stove or lighter so it will pop off of the full can from steam. Make an inner wall up to the cut edge from left over can top and insert into the center hole of the stove. Punch small holes every 4mm. This stove can only safely burn methanol, ethanol alcohol(paint store), brake fluid antifreeze, chafing dish fuel, and rubbing alcohol, although isopropyl or rubbing alcohol will produce some soot. The stove is very cheap and light but over time the fuel is expensive when compared to gasoline, diesel fuel, or kerosene and produces less heat per ml.



CAUTION!! This basic model soft drink can stove has been field tested by us and it works well with care, but be careful as the fire that is caused by the Alcohol cannot be put out with water. One of our writers bumped his stove and almost had a room fire on his hands. Fortunately though he had an extinguisher close by to put it out with. But water didn't work. So be extremely careful with all of these open top alcohol stoves both manufactured and home made.


Stainless steel seems to be the way to go for durability although aluminum does win in a weight comparison. Some people are concerned that uncoated aluminum cookware might leach small amounts aluminum into your food, which some fear may cause health problems eventually, however this has not been proven, we suppose that non-stick coated aluminum should be okay though. Even so some of us still use aluminum pots in our ultralight camping gear. Non-stick is easy to clean until the non-stick coating scrapes or burns. Titanium is light and strong but very expensive.

River sand or wood ash will help scrape out most gunk in a steel pan. Be sure you have large enough pots for real trail meals and good handle or pot lifter. A kettle which nests in your pots is good for easy boiling and pouring. A few plastic containers are good for leftovers and mixing bowls. If you are part of a group a Chinese wok might be worth the weight. Look below for pressure cookers, some are small and light enough for backpacking. see also Roadside-Chow


Opposite of how to cook something up comes how to store something for a while that may go bad before you have a chance to eat it. In the unlikely event that you have a large cache of food, you can create a refrigerator that does not run on electricity. Simply take two porous clay pots and insert the smaller pot inside the larger. Fill the space between with wet sand, cover, place in a shaded area . This contraption works by cooling as the sand evaporates and will chill the food 15 to 20 degrees Celsius below ambient temperature for a few days. This invention won Mohammad Bah Abba $100,000!

Pressure Cooker

A pressure cooker which can handle 15 PSI (Pounds per Square Inch) raises cooking temperature to 250F meaning that food requiring an hour of boiling in an open pot only takes 15 minutes and more nutrition is retained due to faster cooking. This is a great way to cook dried inexpensive staple foods like beans, dried corn, and rice acquired from railroad cars or bulk bins. Pressure cooking also helps those who are hiding out in the mountains above 3500ft to cook with reasonable results where it might be impossible otherwise to ever soften beans by boiling. A pressure cooker is heavy but modern ones have so many safety features that the old grandma's steam explosion stories are now unfounded, and they easily make up their weight in fuel and time savings for multi­day trips. Pick something in the 1.5 to 6 quart or liter range depending on the size of your group as anything larger can get quite heavy. Be careful of less expensive or lighter designs may be below 15 PSI capable, greatly reducing its effectiveness and hence its time and fuel savings value.


A Thermos type insulated container saves fuel by holding a near boiling cooking level heat in for many minutes after you shut off your stove. For example, bring your pasta or lentils and rice to a nice boil in a minute or two and then shutdown and pour into your thermos. It will finish cooking in there although often the beans remain a bit crunchy. If you have the tie pre-heat the inside of your thermos with a cup full of boiling water, gently shake and let sit. There will sometimes be pressure when you open the thermos. Now pour that hot water back into your cup for some tea and add the stuff you actually wanted to keep hot. We have found that the glass line vacuum thermoses would hold heat longer but one drop on a hard surface and the tube would break. We have chosen to stick with metal. On a long camp-out or trip a thermos can easily be worth its weight in fuel.

An insulated commuter cup keeps your drink warm; This is especially important in the cold or when bicycling. At a discount store we found a plastic insulated cup with a good seal and a handle which clipped tightly onto our bicycle handlebars and backpack belts. We looked through the whole display and bought the cups that didn't have a leaking problem either. The insulation was just a dead space between the inner and outer plastic shell so we filled that with styrofoam bits. Hot drinks are important in cold weather.

Mess Kit

A lexan bowl, some quality bamboo chopsticks, and a good set of stainless steel or polycarbonate nesting utensils will work to serve most food you will be able to make in the wilderness.

Forest Forage

Many of these life saving emergency ideas are cruel or illegal unless you are lost and starving, even then you might be fined or punished.

Don't expect to be able to survive on gathering, fishing, hunting, or trapping, indigenous peoples in what is now known as North America were very few in number and the wildlife was not as stressed, many first nations people also practiced agriculture.

If you somehow are stuck in the woods for a long time drink pine needle tea for the vitamin C to avoid scurvy. Some soft (unripe) pine cones have food value cooked or raw. The seeds in mature pine cones are also edible, having large amounts of fat and protein.

The inner bark of many trees can be eaten for reasonable food value with carbohydrates and sugar etc. Cut thin vertical strips off and spread between many trees, cutting a circle around or cutting too much bark off will kill the tree. Using a small hatchet or knife chip/peel off the outer bark first then peel out the soft inner bark. Most common tree species are edible such as beech and spruce/other pines. Fry or boil the bark, alternatively it can be dried and ground for use as a flour substitute. While not the best taste, if you are stuck in a large plantation then you should be able to survive on it for quite a long time. However, this will often kill the tree.

Young plant shoots, soft inner stalks, and soft or bulbous roots can often be safely cooked or eaten raw, learn what is poisonous and edible along your travel route and local area. Always find a guide who is actually eating the foods to be sure failing that become very skilled in using a plant food guidebook for emergencies, pay special attention to the danger plants in your camping area.

Steel wire snares or baited fish hooks are a way to survive by trapping animals and birds, place these traps so they will catch small animals running trails or along frequently traveled branches. The idea with the snares is they will catch their neck and fall off the branch, on trails the plan is they will be running and stick their neck through pulling it tight. Check your traps regularly.

Cut and cook or smoke to thin brittle jerky all meat as soon as possible to avoid waste, for a large kill where you are short on time in hot weather, skin and open fire roast or boil the meat first to preserve before smoking and salting.

A good rule is to never eat any plant foods that are bitter or burning unless it is a known food like peppers, although even rotted meat can be safely eaten in most cases if very well cooked or boiled for several hours. Always cook or smoke and then hang meat since bears, mice and raccoons are still interested in your food.

Most foods can either be stewed in a pot which is boiled on coals of at least an hour preserving most nutrients, if this is impossible cook chopped meats and fish on a skewer over the coals of a fire.

Even if you find your meats have started to rot the maggots that will come can be collected, cooked, and eaten. Culturally disgusting in the west they are actually easier to digest and higher in nutrition than the meats they are found on, they are popular treats in many parts of Asia.

A fish net or hand made fish cage placed at a choke point in a river, such as between two large rocks or after a log will often collect many fish. You can also string baited hooks from overhanging tree branches, check these several times a day.

Spearing fish is an option especially in tide pools, while carving a spear with a barb works barbed frog spears are available at sporting goods and fishing stores are stronger and he barbs stick better.

Rotenone is a organic pesticide from a South American plant, it can be used to stun fish in a pond or slow moving river drop the poison up river from fish and run downstream and scoop up dinner, rotenone is harmless to warm blooded animals. For wilderness alternatives to rotenone crush green husks from butternuts or black walnuts and use this to stun fish.

Use fish and animal guts for bait.

For more tips on gathering edible plants, check out the Foraging page.


Water purification pills, boiling, and unscented bleach will kill bacteria. but take around half an hour to work. Most backpackers who don't have access to plumbing want the convenience of a filter. We teach the construction of a drip filter in Low Impact Crashing, but hand pumped models work faster and can remove pathogens from large volumes in a shorter time (if you can devise a pump for the improvised filter element above with no bypass this will work too). The two most common types of filters are ceramic and paper filter systems. Ceramics provide a scrub clean filter that will last for countless trips and allow for field repair but generally require more time to pump. A paper filter provides a shorter pumping session but requires replacement filters often which could become more costly in the long term. Talk with your local outdoor equipment provider to find the best filter for your needs. Be careful that you pump out all water in and keep inside your coat in freezing temperatures as ice can crack the filter element. MSR, PUR, and Sweetwater make good filters.

If you are on the ocean or in the desert or near an open, natural water source or even damp soil or green organic matter during a sunny day with moderate heat, you can use what is called a solar still to generate fresh water. Foam in the water is bad, it means pollution or something else wrong, pure water does not foam. Solar stills are usually inflatable buoys that consist of a flattened black base connected to a parasol with a collection tube attached to the bottom of this. It works by collecting water, green vegetation, damp soil, or anything containing water onto the bottom part and then using the sun to evaporate it. This leaves behind dissolved substances (like salt). The vapor is then collected inside the top of the cone and condenses. There is usually a thin fishing-line type cord that spirals down the inside of the top and empties into the tube. You can lead this end into a bottle or pouch to fill with clean water. It usually takes a while to get a lot, but additional stills will make this better. These are good for use if you are camped for a somewhat extended period of time in a desert area, or if you are out at sea. It is still a good idea to bring this distilled water to a boil to sterilize any bacteria.

Another alternative is Ultraviolet Water Purification. These pocket sized lights emit UV radiation to inactivate bacteria. These purifiers do not remove any material from the water (like a filter would) but do sterilize the water for drinkability. For more information on water purifiers, visit the BackpackGearTest Gear Reviews (http://www backpackgeartest.org/reviews/Water%20Treatment) . Don't pay too much, these are just a few ultraviolet LED's and a battery in a waterproof case.

Drinking Systems

A backpack tube type drinking system makes sipping easier and increases water intake preventing dehydration in all weather conditions, adding a shutoff valve will prevent leakage if the bite valve is accidentally compressed, blowing air into the tube will keep that next gulp of water cool in the pouch especially if you have ice. You need to clean the tube and bladder well and store with a paper towel puffing out the bladder to prevent mold and slime. Many drinking systems have a large opening which is threaded and compatible with water filter pumps.


Giardia is a protozoan that lives in almost every stream and river in Amerika. When ingested, it multiplies in the intestines and causes its victim to violently expel out both ends, a condition known as "beaver fever". It usually won't kill you, but you'll sure wish it could.

Filtering or boiling will make the water safe from these parasites, but remember to also use clean water to wash your face and dishes. Melted snow, having been below 0 degrees for its entire history, does not support giardiasis organisms. High altitude streams are also safe in the vast majority of cases, as rivers flow downstream and all the beavers (and thus the infected beaver turds) are harmlessly downstream of you.

Flagyl (a.k.a. Metronidazole) is used to treat intestinal parasites, including giardia. You can get it for relatively cheap, but you'll need a prescription. (Just tell 'em you're going hiking for a couple weeks, they won't think twice about it.) It is a one-dose antibiotic pill that should bring dramatic relief within 4-8 hours of taking it.

Giardia, being a parasite, will only cause massive infestation once per person; however, after being infected once you are a symptom-free carrier, this has little effect except that you should try not to shit in mountain streams so you're not the one that infects it.


Be sure you are getting enough water to drink, plan minimum two liters a day if camped in cool weather, more if moving or the day is hot. Your urine should be a clear when in the field, dark or cloudy urine is a sign of dehydration, most Americans are chronically dehydrated. Even if the weather is cool insufficient hydration and urine output could lead to bladder and even kidney infection especially in women.

A dilute drink mix can make guzzling water easier and helps soft drink addicted Americans replenish electrolytes, this should taste like watered down soft drink. You can carry a concentrate to add to water while you are on the trail.

  • 4-5 tablespoons sugar

  • 1/8 and 1/16 teaspoon of salt

  • 1/16 teaspoon salt substitute that contains potassium chloride

  • 1/2 packet of unsweetened drink powder(no artificial sweeteners) or 1/2 cup lemon or lime juice

  • 1 litre(4.5 cups) of water

You can substitute powdered citric acid for the drink flavor powder to add zing, experiment with concentrations. Packets of freeze-dried lemon juice crystals can be substituted for lemon juice for a completely dry concentrate.


Footwear for backpacking depends on your ankles. If you have steel ankles and arches you might be able to get by with trail runner shoes or light hiker boots. For the rest of us non-bionic humans the weight on our feet is paid off by the superior support of a mountaineering boot. The price of these giant boots is offset by the vibrant resale market where a slightly stinky used pair of $400 boots can be had for around $50.

If you will be establishing a longer term wilderness base camp, trail runner type shoes might be worth the pack weight for short trips from camp. River sandals are also an option for short trips especially if you will be walking through water. For the most part waterproof footwear is a problem either because about 30% of people perspire too much and the inside gets damp or because they step in water over their ankle and it takes forever to dry the shoe out since there is a waterproof barrier.

If tramping through swamps and rivers the old Vietnam jungle boot is a good workhorse although it gives less support than a big mountaineering boot.

Big woolly socks help prevent blisters, even in hot summer go for the big fluffy socks, we know some who wear an inner silk or synthetic stocking but watch for folds that can cause blisters.

It is vitally important that you get a good fit and do not jam your toes into the end. Jammed toes lead to ingrown nails and blisters, which can become infected and potentially lead to immobility or major damage. When at the store do heel and toe kicks at the ground, walk around for a few minutes, and if possible, walk or in-place-step up and down on an incline to see if your foot stays tight without jamming your toes or making any rub spots. Have a sheet or two of moleskin when you set out on your journey to protect sore spots before your feet toughen up.

Be sure to get good durable laces and at least two sets of spares for your repair kit, forgetting your spares will haunt you when walking out and one shoe is falling off of your feet.


Cotton clothing is cheap, but loses all its insulating power when it gets wet, you'll probably be much better off with other fabrics. The word in wilderness rescue is "cotton kills" whether on the mountain where you got wet and caught in the cold or in the desert after night falls and the temperature drops, cotton takes forever to dry and is generaly not the best suited fiber to long trips to the wilderness.

Synthetic zip off trousers/shorts are easily available at the writing of this book, these are good for durability, ease of washing and drying quickly but some do hold body odors.

Camping and ski stores often carry synthetic button shirts and t-shirts, although for the money discount, 100% silk Hawaii print or colored dress shirts work just as well, although you will look like a Hawaiian tourist poser. (A dye job will fix that.) Look for a durable tight weave.

If you're in a cool, rainy climate, your best bet might be a plain old wool sweater and wool scarf. They're cheap, warm, and retain their insulation when wet. Check your local Salvation Army or Goodwill; you probably won't be winning any fashion contests, but who cares? We'll take function over form anytime. Remember that wool and synthetics worn together make static electricity which can destroy electronics especially if you have them open while doing a repair.


In most locations, if you already own one, a light mountaineering type parka shell combined with one or two liner layers is a lightweight way to protect from rain and cold. The army surplus camo gore-tex jacket fits the bill, we have heard of some people successfully coloring them black without ruining the gore-tex.

If you are in a very rainy location think about roll up Gore-tex rainpants. Mountaineering gaitors are waterproof and keep your legs dry if you need to move along in wet brush or grass after a storm or heavy dew.

Under your shell layer lies the main insulation layer (fleece jacket and trousers although a fleece vest is fine in summer), sometimes your tighter vest and looser jacket are combined to add insulation in serious cold. Long underwear finishes up your three layer system. Remove layers to keep you from sweating.

In the far north, the more insulation, the better. Additionally, hoods should have fur or fake fur around the edge to help keep in breath.


Wide brimmed boonie type hats are great for hot, sunny, or wet weather but a good insulated military helmet under hat or wool cap will keep you warm in the cold.


Spandex sport bras and underwear works well for preventing chafing and providing support, bike shorts also work well and prevent most thigh chafing when walking. Another option for women is to wear a one piece competition bathing suit on the trail for support and at your destination you are ready for the water.

Long underwear of the real polypropylene and NOT a cotton mix is a super lightweight bit of gear that really helps keep you warm, don't forget both tops and bottoms. Some people will make cutoffs of their long underwear and stash the leggings and sleeves in their pack, when it gets colder just put the cut off parts back on as part of your layering system.


You are limited in the amount of batteries you can carry into the wilderness and by what to do with them after they are used up, see our thoughts in Low_Impact_Crashing on batteries, solar and wind up gadgets (http://wiki.stealthiswiki.org/wiki/Low-Impact-Crashing#A-Word-on-Batteries.2C-Solar.2C-and-.22Wind- Up.22-Gadgets) with extra emphasis on solar since it provides electricity without requiring you to expend extra effort.

HF Radio

For Communication a tiny HF QRP radio transceiver will keep you in touch on a regular enough basis to keep you on top of everything, some kits can even listen to shortwave broadcast too, look for a kit or radio set with low battery consumption. Have planned meet up times with a ham radio operator or member of the underground with a serious radio and antenna to check in several times a week who will also read you email and type up responses for you. Be sure not to compromise on making a quality wire antenna and set up on a hilltop if possible when you transmit. If the pigs are looking for you and can get line of sight to your hilltop they rarely might be able to DF(direction find) a HF radio set, keep your transmissions short and hope they are not looking or transmit from a valley and pray that the other station can hear you. Learn Morse code as that works when almost nothing else will and it has an effective range many times that of voice.

Handheld Radios

Walkie talkies are fun and sometimes very useful in the woods or urban jungle but they are super easy for the cops to zero in on, if they have the right gear, even if there is very little chatter. We find either a 2 meter ham or quality FRS walkie-talkie work best. Some dual band ham wakie-talkie radios have a crossband repeater which means you can set up a radio and solar panel in a tree on a large hill and cover several miles around the peak, of course then everyone needs compatible radios.

Most radios including handhelds can take an external antenna, a telescoping antenna matched to your radio band is good to keep in your pack when you need extra range, when in camp an external j-pole roll up antenna will really extend your range, just hang it from a tree, these are easy to make from twin lead antenna cable, look online for plans.

Packable Sat-Com

Satellite communications using low Earth orbit ham radio sats and around $100 of gear will let you communicate with associates across the continent and if the orbit lines up right you could even cross an ocean. For the most common satellites, you will need a 2 meter band transmitter and battery pack which transmits at least five watts, and a scanner which will cover the 440 band. It might be cheaper to get a dual band or 145/440Mhz ham radio, then you have only one gadget. You need to make or buy a yagi antenna which can be done for about $10 in wire, coax cable, and a 1"x2" piece of wood. You will need to visit Radio Shack or other electronic parts dealer for the parts to make a antenna duplexer if you have a dual band radio. See Communication for a more in depth coverage.

For worldwide communications you need some kind of computer or data device, since some satellites have a data store and forward BBS or a digipeater function which will beam a satellite radio email to other stations who automatically forward the email via Internet. If you have no tracking program, sweep your antenna north or south and scan the downlink freqs until you hear a OSCARS satellite beacon or voice traffic. After reviewing the satellite design and the tech involved we have determined that if the pigs suspect you of using this communication method they can use it to track you to within a few dozen miles after a few passes using knowledge of the orbital mechanice and doppler effect, this same satellite tracking technique has been used for many years to locate crashed aircraft and stranded sailors.


Prepaid and monthly plan satellite phones are available but are insanely expensive (airtime can be as much as $2 a minute!) and extensively tracked since the Iridium satphone system is OWNED by the US government! On the upside, they work like a mobile phone except in high polar regions.


A signal mirror works for many miles hilltop to hilltop for simple signals, the difficulty is sending and receiving morse code effectively to another party. Smoke and other pyrotechnic signals in the wilderness will attract fire and ranger attention especially if used in the summer.

Power Generation

Most people given the choice choose solar power for wilderness power generation although large systems can get really expensive. The best backpacking solar systems are either crystalline or thin film flexible cells and fold up into a nice package. Solar power systems are expensive and while it is often better to have too much capacity be realistic with your power needs, most of us at most need to charge a mobile phone, MP3 player, and some AA batteries, maybe a rechargeable bicycle headlamp but probably not a laptop if you are backpacking. A good way to estimate needed power is to look at the voltage and then the mA (mili amps) rating on your gadgets and figure out how long it takes to charge, especially if you chose toys that all use USB charging you can use a USB hub. It is important to set a alarm timer so that the different equipment would be rotated once the battery was charged so sunlight hours were not wasted especially in winter, direct charging is best since a storage battery is either heavy if lead/acid or expensive. Suspend or prop up your panel to point straight at the sun for maximum efficiency, you can move the panel during the day or if you want to leave your solar panel in camp all day just tilt it at around a 45 degree angle facing southward in the northern hemisphere.

Flashlight and Headlight

A headlamp is a must when camping, a dual beam headlamp will give you a powerful halogen beam for long range and an LED bulb for reading and camp chores while keeping your hands free, although a LED only headlamp can be quite light and cheap. Pressurized fuel and candle lanterns, fluorescent lamps, and light sticks all have their place but a LED light usually wins because of battery life and weight. A hand generator pumpable or shake light is smart too since you might not be able to afford batteries, again LED seems the best idea since the bulb is nearly eternal and it stays lit for a few seconds between pumps.

Bug Repellent

Often in high mosquito areas you need protection outside of your tent or bug screen. DEET containing insect repellents are the gold standard for now in keeping the bugs away, sprays, creams, and even sun screens are available with this ingredient. It is important to keep the liquid away from any nylon or plastic gear , these bug sprays do destroy these items, even touching plastics shortly application will melt your fingerprints into many plastics. It is worth remembering that citronella can be burned as an oil or candle in your camp to drive off mosquitoes.

Garlic eaten in large quantities will repel both insects and your friends, and is one of the very few repellents even marginally effective against the blackfly, scourge of eastern Canada and the far northern states.

Pyrethrins, naturally-occurring compounds with insecticidal properties derived from chrysanthemum flowers and are used in many household products for controlling insects. Permethryn is not usually applied to people but to gear like clothing,mosquito nets, or sleeping bags to repel and prevent bugs from nesting, it is also used to to cure lice infestations in humans and fleas in pets. Extremely rarely there are sensitive problems with permethryn in humans or pets.


Most people really believe in the GPS, we like it too but we really don't trust Uncle Sam and his boys at the Air Force to leave it working right for us citizens if they really start cracking down. We like the army lensatic compass with the perma-lit tritium elements so the important parts will be glow for about 25 years. You sight this compass like a gun while viewing the degrees dial so you can easily choose a landmark to walk towards. This is around $120 new or $10 if you can find a soldier a week before payday. For a big quality drop there is a functional copy of the army compass sold at camping stores for $15 but you must be very careful to check that the needle points true and doesn't stick. Silva and Brunton also make excellent compasses for navigation but are not as tough as the army ones. Learn how to use a compass with a map at www.learn-orienteering.org/old/ (http7/www learn-orienteering.org/old/)


To minimize your own impact on your surroundings, dig a hole at least 6 inches to poop in. This gets down to soil with bacteria that will decompose your waste. Do not pee in the same hole as this will kill the helpful bacteria. Make sure that your hole is at least 200 feet away from any water sources to avoid contamination. If you can, use natural items for toilet paper such as smooth sticks, round rocks, or leaves (make sure it isn't poison ivy!). If you must use toilet paper, put it in a sealed plastic bag and throw it away - even "biodegradable" toilet paper can take up to 50 years to decompose.

Walking Sticks

A pair of lightweight telescoping ski type poles have become popular with the backpacking crowd. Essentially they make you into a four legged animal giving you more strength while climbing and better stability while descending or crossing water. In the tents section above there is a description on how to use a tarp and telescoping hiking pole to make a ultra-lightweight tent.

Tools and Repairs
  • Tent wands can be repaired by wrapping pop can around the break a few times and securing with duct tape.

  • Tents can be repaired by gluing a piece of the nylon packing bag over the hole and seam sealing it.

  • Inflatable pool toy repair glue will save an inflatable mattress.

  • Have o-rings, pump cups, and silicone lubricant for all stoves and filters.

  • Carry a bit of tent screen patch.

  • Some wire can save a broken zipper and act as a zipper pull.

  • Cable ties are just always useful.

  • A zipper that is stuck open can be lubricated by rubbing a candle or a bar of soap on the teeth.

  • Pack a well-stocked sewing kit with some patch material, carpet thread, Velcro, large needles and safety pins.

  • Military duct tape is amazing but the goop it leaves is tough to get off for real repairs. Wrap a meter or two around a golf pencil.

  • A stick of hot glue can be melted with a lighter.

  • Assorted small nuts, bolts, washers, pins, and screws have many uses.

  • A tube of contact cement carried in a double bag is great for glue patching tents and repairing shoes

  • Carry lots of lantern mantles (and make certain they're the right model for your lantern).

  • Shoe laces can make the difference in walking out

  • Quality pliers multi-tools are always good to have in or out of the woods

  • A smaller scissors multi-tool is useful on your keychain.

  • Camping stores carry a pocket-chainsaw which is a roll up linked saw that you can either use with the included handles or make a bow-saw with a stick, it rolls into a four inch pocket size flat can.

Other Skills

Check out Low Impact Crashing and Pack your bag for more camping related skills and gear.


Camping while Cycling is a popular way to overnight when touring, Just stick your backpack in a trailer (have plans for wet weather) or better yet distribute your gear in pannier bags, since weight savings are still important to cyclists backpacking gear is traditionally used. Very popular is the Hammock with a rain tarp to minimize the bedding and tenting load. An especially interesting item for long expeditions and mobile-homelessness is the combination tent-cot- trailer which folds out into a bed with a tent over it for quick tidy camping. Remember that if you are stealth camping to cover reflectors so you are harder to detect through casual flashlight/torch or headlight sweeps.


see Skiing and Boarding for backcountry winter movement.


There is a niche of us who after years of being weighted down decided to try the ultralight way. The benefits are that you can make much of your own gear, you won't be tired from a big load at the end of the day, and all of your gear will can easily fit in a small pack, bike pannier, or on your lap when hitchhiking. The downside is most of the gear has a shorter wear life and if purchased from a store can be very expensive. Ultralight can become an obsessive lifestyle and sometimes confers (often rightly) the superiority complex also seen with ex-smokers, vegans, and the fervently religious. If you like go the slow route and trim your gear down to minimum. Testing is very important to be sure that your gear is good enough for the job you are planning it to do, don't go so light that you cannot handle changes in weather. We strongly support going the DIY route so take our advice and borrow a sewing machine. You can often have fuel and food sent ahead to post offices via general delivery.

  • Tent-Military surplus parachute panels are a great material to sew your tent from. Once you sew your tent you might consider spraying it with a water repellent, but this is optional. Test your new design by staking down and spraying gently with a hose. Many designs assume you will be using telescoping walking sticks and incorporate them as poles. Three or four quality aluminum stakes should be enough to keep the tent tacked down even in moderate wind. Look above for the tarp tent design, alternatives are using a bivvy sack or survival plastic tube tent.

  • Sleeping Bag-Your sleeping bag can be the heaviest component in your pack. Goose down is a great way to save weight but it gets damp easily and then looses it's warmth. One option is to sew a top only sleeping quilt stuffed with a light insulator from parachute cloth and let your ground pad keep your bottom warm. You can also increase your warmth by wearing loose long underwear and clothing to sleep.

  • Ground Pad-From cut down yoga pads to sheets of tyvek house wrap, you need to keep ground moisture from stealing your precious body heat, this is a place to save lots of money and weight if you are creative. Alternatives include using a camping hammock to get you away from the cold damp ground.

  • Pack-A simple thin backpack should be enough, since the load will be light a frame is not needed. If traveling it might be smart to have a bit tougher pack due to questionable surfaces like boxcars or barns as well as unexpected abuse.

  • Shoes-Since you are not overloaded many people are able to get by with lightweight trail hiker sport shoes.

  • Clothing-A layering system and adequate head and neck cover can save quite a bit of weight. A base of long polypropylene underwear followed by soccer shorts, a fleece fest, a wool or fleece hat possibly with wrap around ear flaps, and a fleece scarf. A packable anorak wind jacket and thin warm up pants will form an outer layer. Some choose to use a lightweight umbrella instead of a waterproof jacket for rain protection on the trail.

  • Cooking-Some swear by DIY alcohol soft drink can stoves, others use Esbit tablet solid fuel. Depending on the fire and environmental conditions a natural wood fire might be what saves you the most weight, making a Dakota fire hole can intensify the heat and save fuel, punching holes in a steel can and making a mini hobo stove is also an option.

  • Pots-Some people like to carry a single aluminum kettle for heating water to pour into their bag or bowl ramen, couscous, or converted rice. Others carry a sierra cup, cut off aluminum can, large tuna can, or a super cheap non stick pot from a dollar store. Often chopsticks and slurping straight from the bowl is enough.

  • Water-Soft drink bottles have been popular for years, lately there have been warnings that sunlight can break the plastic into undesirable chemicals. Many filters are large although we describe making a drip filter element in Low Impact Crashing, or just use a small filter from the store. Many ultra­lighters choose to use iodine tablets and put up with the bad flavor.

  • Food-Lightweight carbs like rice, potato flakes, and couscous, protein like beans, egg powder, or oven dried meat, and oil to add fat to your diet, a favorite spice or mix adds flavor. Energy bars, peanut butter, and cookies are great for ready to eat food.

  • First Aid-Band-Aid plasterer's, butterfly bandages, antibiotic ointment packets, iodine swabs, Immodium and aspirin tablets, thin maxi-pad, flattened roll of tape, aloe packet.

  • Other-LED keychain or headlight, TP, small multi-tool, compass, sewing needle, thread, parachute silk patch, whistle, signal mirror, two butane lighters, space blanket, sunglasses, wide brim hat, pixie QRP radio, tea light candles

  • Urban-You can apply your ultralight skills even when you are not going to the wilderness. The freedom when visiting, traveling by air, cycling, and hitchhiking is because your simplified bag can go in almost any locker, corner, or carry-on luggage bin. A stinger electrical immersion boiler means you can plug in instead of searching or paying for fuel. A thin rubber sink stopper is good for washing clothes, a synthetic towel is pocket sized so you can stealth wash yourself in a sink and dry off. For news an earplug size FM radio keeps you informed. Several folded plastic shopping bags are a good way to stow trash, carry a bit extra gear or food or to protect your gear from getting wet.

Where to Stealth/Free Camp

Public land can often be the easiest choice. National Forests and BLM land are free to enter and, unless otherwise marked, free to camp on. In some cases, a backcountry permit is needed. National and State Parks, on the other hand, often have designated pay-camp sites (anywhere from $5 to $30 for a night) and rangers can be very strict about camping in these sites only. Backcountry camping is an option here, although occasionally a fee will be charged for a pass.

We prefer to find a nice spot off of the road and just set up camp far enough away from town that the cops won't bother us. If getting away from town is not practical at least camp near or inside a park treeline, a hill between you and town helps. Be careful if you find a beautiful soft green field in the middle of summer, you may be surprised by pop-up water sprinklers at two in the morning. Easy camping locations to find on a map are where creeks flow or a cemetery is located, there is often trees to hide near these locations.

In nearly all jurisdictions as long as the place you camp is not clearly marked "No Trespassing" you can not be cited or ticketed until you are asked to leave and refuse, don't assume that small town cops understand the law, keep most of your stuff packed and ready to go, but if you litter or do ANY damage at all the homeowner might be able to seek damages or press charges.

Look at the terrain you are in for signs of water flow especially in desert areas, this means avoiding both dry river beds which can drown you in your sleeping bag during a surprise flash flood or just paths or erosion indicating a water flow that could soak you and your gear in a storm.

Don't enter fenced areas when stealth camping. While it is possible to cut the fence with the right cutters in an emergency you are then liable for the damage. Easier is to avoid lockable areas totally, then there is no worry of being trapped until someone comes to rescue you.

Always get dull colored gear if possible, a big part of the stealth camping we do is not being noticed, this is especially important as you near urban areas. Going into the brush and trees even a little bit breaks up the outline of your tent, dull colored (non-damaging)dye art on your rain fly will help break up the outline but will also make you easy to identify. You will develop an eye for using terrain and foliage to conceal your camp. Look behind buildings with parking large lots, train tracks, and near large factories for a field to camp in, industrial areas may not have services but they also often have a much lower competition for viable camping spots. The dullest colored gear will not hide you if you stumble around with your headlight or flashlight on, once you approach your planned camp our rule is lights out, even in your tent unless you want someone to see you.


Need a shower? In the countryside I have sometimes found pubs which have external rooms for rent, with a separate bathroom which can be entered from the outside. Go when the pub is closed and try the door to the external bathroom. In the Summer a lot of places will leave these unlocked for toilet use for drinkers in the garden. Not guaranteed, but probably the easiest way to get a free shower.

Another alternative I've found in the countryside for a shower is some smaller campsites which don't have much of a reception or any barriers may also have unlocked bathrooms (for campers to use the toilet in the night). Some of these places are run by couples or individuals and an night are left unguarded. Shower and get out of there!

Small sports centres only charge for using such things as time on the tennis courts so you can use the changing rooms for free.

Hot Springs

If you can find a camping spot with a hot spring nearby you will have access to one of the great outdoor treasures. Hot springs are the result of a normal water table encountering the volcanic heat of an active volcanic chain like in the Rocky Mountains or Cascade range similar to the way geysers are formed. Many hot springs have a cult like following who regularly visit them, even skiing to them in the snowed in months, these groups may have even upgraded an open pit in the forest or hole on a river side to fancy wood tubs or even bathhouses. A great hot soak is like good surf waves, be cool and give preference to the locals, they do much of the work to keep the place nice.

If you come across undeveloped hot springs you need to be careful, the water can be boiling hot!! Use a cup on a stick to dip some steaming water to determine the temperature, if it feels just right use a shovel to dig a pit large enough for you and friends to sit in and and enjoy. If the water is too hot for safe enjoyment you need to either direct the flow toward a source of cold water such as a cool spring or creek, and using rocks or logs as dams and bypass trenches adjust the mix to fill your tub or pit with comfortable water. Use plenty of caution if you are using a really hot spring and be ready to jump out of your soak if the flow changes and overheats your pool.

Even the most remote hot springs have likely been mapped and are occasionally visited by rangers or backpackers. If you are hiding out this may not be the best location to do so.

Deep Wilderness

Serious planning is required before taking to the deep wilderness such as northern Canada and Alaska, the skills and gear required is beyond the scope of this book which mostly covers near to civilization escapes. If you plan to do an ultra deep wilderness retreat pre-position enough food for your whole stay, even if it takes a few trips. Plant food and gear caches along the return path in waterproof and animal proof bucket or tree caches. Fats like canned Crisco, lard, or olive oil carry the most calories for their size and preserve well for emergencies but peanut butter is a more complete food. Carry powerful antibiotics for the most common infections and illnesses, Diphenhydramine (AKA Benedryl), and epinephrine (inhaler or injectable) for severe allergic reactions. If you cross any creeks, riverbeds, or rivers find out about the times and conditions when they go to flood stage, also learn about the dangers of and plan for being trapped by an early winter blizzard. Learn how to cross obstacles like rivers using rope that you bring. Don't cross obstacles that could cut you off for a long period of time unless you have substantial extra supplies and the right emergency crossing equipment and training. For extended stays either carry an aircraft band 121.5 MHz AM aircraft radio transceiver or a EPIRB satellite distress beacon for dire emergencies. Your best plan is to bring a buddy or two who can get help if needed and keep you company if everything is OK. See the movie Into The Wild(2007) for a worst case scenario of an Alaska wilderness stay.

Avoiding Vagrancy Problems

Unless you are taking a planned wilderness vacation those on camping or cycling nomadic walkabout it is a good idea to carry as vagrancy protection some or all of the following. Personalized business cards for your real or imaginary consulting service, hostel card to prove you are a legit tourist and not from the migratory poor, student ID to prove you have corpgov slavery lock-in but are still allowed to be free and not drive everywhere in a Lexus, credit cards (even if they are canceled but in date) to prove you are living the go-go life of debt slavery. A journal showing your travels may soften the heart of a slave nation cop or property owner who hates the poor and homeless that he fears he might yet become himself, similar to homophobia. Of course all of the quick-draw ID should be in the same name to avoid trouble. Legit out of state ID easily acquired if you crash for a while elsewhere, can be presented to show that you are just traveling and not a local bum, this is most useful at urban youth hostels. A certain level of non-permanence in your camp site and good grooming will also help the WASP majority identify more with you opening the possibility of camping in yards, free meals, and less calls for the police. In unfriendly locales be sure to be very stealthy in camping and only be seen walking with clear plans as to where you are heading.


Last updated: 13 September 2011

Backpacking and Camping are both viable ways to live in wilderness areas without a permanent address.

Backpacking implies much more mobility and easier access to deeper wilderness, the equipment is mostly suitable for touring both on foot and by bicycle, kayak, or canoe. Camping is more long term stable and often involves more comfortable bedding and cooking equipment. A camper may make many trips with supplies and building materials, arranges a ride, drives, or even uses a trailer, while a backpacker can easily move all of his shelter and gear on his own. see also Backpacking

You may also wish to check out Hunting and Fishing since many times camping goes hand in hand with those activities.

If you are looking for a more permanent home in one location, or prefer something closer to the comforts of home camping could be your solution. Camping is also easier if you have children and they are unable to carry their own gear.


  • 1 Tents

  • 1.1 Choosing your tent

  • 1.2 Cheap Tents

  • 1.3 Wear Prevention

  • 1.4 Stakes

  • 1.5 Tarp Tent

  • 1.6 Rain Protection

  • 2 Trailers

  • 3 Shacks

  • 4 Log Cabin

  • 5 Cooking

  • 5.1 Dutch Ovens

  • 5.1.1 Pottery

  • 6 Electricity

  • 6.1 Solar

  • 7 Lanterns

  • 7.1 Troubleshooting Liquid Fuel Pressure Stoves and Lanterns

  • 8 Toilet

  • 9 Water

  • 10 Water Conserving Cleanup

  • 11 Furniture

  • 12 Cold Caching

  • 13 Campfires

  • 13.1 Barbecue Grilles

  • 14 Other Options

  • 14.1 Fire Lookout

  • 14.2 Forest Fires

  • 15 Replacing Consumables

  • 16 Camp Farming


Larger tents can be rented or purchased from a place specializing in their sales. Army surplus tents are very durable and can last several years in the elements, most tents are intentionally razor cut before the military releases them to the surplus market, watch shoddy repairs to this damage. Insist that the dealer erect and allow inspection of any used or surplus tent, don't forget the poles, stakes, and guy-ropes.

Lighter family tents can sometimes be expensive and usually are intended for only a few setups, left erected they can last for months if in a shaded area. You should buy a tent with plenty of room to stand up, roll out several large sleeping bags with foam mattresses, and stow your gear.

Often tarps or large plastic drop cloths are used as an inexpensive way to improve waterproofing, block sun damage, and even increase insulation of a tent used for long periods of time.


Choosing your tent

A tent serves several jobs; insect protection, privacy, sun shade, and weather protection; the tent construction will affect the performance in all of these areas.

  • For insect protection be sure that there are full closing zippers, some inexpensive tents leave the bottoms of windows and doors open, durable screens and zipper seams are less likely to rip out quickly.

  • Privacy is the easiest to get, even the cheapest tent is usually opaque, a luggage padlock on your zipper will keep the honest drunk and stoner from crashing out in your tent while you are away.

  • Sun protection is best achieved by buying a polyester tent with UV resistant coating or in desert areas aluminum impregnated into the tent giving the fabric a silver color. Even a good tent should be pitched in the shade if possible to reduce degradation. An inexpensive tarp or space blanket can be suspended over or tied down onto your tent for sun protection.

  • Weather resistance is much of what makes the difference between a $20 tent and a $800 one. High quality tents are season rated, a one season tent is made for use in summer only resisting rain, two also includes late spring and early fall meaning it has better ventilation, three season is for early spring and late fall meaning it can take light snow, a four season is reinforced to withstand heavy snow and still not collapse.

  • Construction quality varies widely between tents look for the following. Bathtub bottom construction means that the waterproof ground cover extends up a few inches to resist light flooding. Proper multilayer urethane coating on the tent fly will resist the strongest rain and not rot quickly. Quality Easton aluminum is lighter and purebiotix review

(http7/www.bestpills4weightloss.com/purebiotix-review.html) stronger for pole construction than the cheapest fiberglass especially when surviving wind and heavy snowfall. Taffeta inner walls that reach to near the bottom of the walls will help prevent condensation, be sure the fly is well separated from the inner wall to give good ventilation. YKK zippers are the industry standard and much better than the ones on inexpensive tents, glow zipper pull add -ons are nice at night. A mesh gear loft is handy to place a light, watch, glasses, phone, or keys. A large tent fly that extends from the tent can be used in rain or snow for stashing water resistant gear and careful cooking.

Cheap Tents

Without all of these fancy features we have successfully tested $20 tents for whole summers in dry locations with occasional rain. If the weather is clear don't use the fly at night on a cheap tent, the small "skylight" screen and the zipper door open but leaving the bug screen closed will release enough moisture that condensation will not be too bad. On every tent buy quality seam seal and reseal all of the seams with three light coats to prevent leakage through the stitches.

Wear Prevention

If you will be camping out for any length of time a layer of plastic sheet under your tent will reduce wear damage to the floor and also add a tiny bit of insulation. A sheet or tarp laid out inside the tent will also protect the floor from snags and wear, it also makes cleaning as easy as shaking the sheet out. If at all possible pitch your tent in the shade, it obviously makes it cooler during the day but also prevents solar degradation of the fabric, just check for sap dripping from some trees which is almost impossible to remove.


For all but the best tents you will need to replace the stakes. The stakes made from drawn wire bent into a hook will bend and become useless. You can buy good lightweight extruded aluminum stakes made from T or angle aluminum which will actually stand the test of pounding into the ground you find in campsites, you can also DIY from aluminum at the hardware store ground to a point. In wind a good tent will remain standing setting it apart from the cheap tents which will bend or break under stress. Staking will prevent your tent from blowing away in light to medium wind but piling your gear inside will also help keep your tent in place but this may cause damage in wind, especially with cheap tents. It can be a pain to properly place stakes in rocky soil or hard baked clay, if you have climbing gear use a piton hammer, a large group might consider carrying a tough plastic stake hammer. Do Not Stomp Stakes In! You risk slicing the side of your foot or even punching the stake through the bottom of your shoe, holding a rock in your hand is also a risk for hand injuries, if you must use a thick stick as a bat to knock them in. Removing stuck stakes is often best accomplished by tying heavy cord onto the bottom third of a thick stick and looping through the stake, then using the added leverage to pop the stake out. A good bit of advice is even a well staked tent should not be left standing without at least one person watching over it ready to take it down, strong winds can pick up and either blow them away tearing out the stake attachments or on less expensive tents breaking the poles or wands, better to take down and stow the tent if you will be away.

Tarp Tent

For ultra light weight camping a UV treated nylon tarp and your walking staff makes a tent,

  • 1- shorten your walking staff and stick into the ground

  • 2- Connect one corner to the top of your staff

  • 3- stake the corner opposite the staff to the ground

  • 4- spread the other two side corners with five foot cords

  • 5- stake side cords to the ground.

This gives good protection from sun and if placed mindful of terrain or a angled gutter is dug to divert runoff it will also protect you from rain. Suspend a light bug screen for insect protection.

Rain Protection

The US army type poncho is a multi-purpose item that can be used to, among other things, create a quick shelter. Two can be snapped together to form a pup tent or one as a tarp tent. Recent surplus ponchos are not only woodland camouflage but are designed to match the infrared background in a forest which is good if you are a fugitive but bad if you are lost in the woods. If you look in books like the army ranger handbook you will find ideas for using ponchos as rafts, emergency stretchers, and other useful things. In fact, a poncho is probably least useful as a piece of rain clothing.

While backpacking, rain gear (that is, a top jacket and a bottom pair of rain pants) is far superior to a poncho. Ponchos, while very cheap, are extremely awkward to fit over a backpack while hiking. Also you are likely to get at least as wet from the sweat and condensation trapped within the poncho as from the rain coming in. Rain gear is more expensive, but infinitely more comfortable for the serious hiker. Still, it's hard to beat the price of a $0.99 poncho vs the $20+ rain gear.


A trailer or motorized camper can be very expensive if purchased new, like most yuppie retirement toys the value drops like a rock once it looks used inside. Be sure the appliances work since repairs can be expensive. Inspect the wheels and tires of a trailer, make sure lights and brakes work correctly and that the tow vehicle is able to connect. Pop up campers must be inspected carefully for mechanical function and rot especially in canvas panels, ask to leak test the camper with a garden hose. Never overload a vehicle with a large trailer, this can be very dangerous!


A shack can be built from whatever roofing and wall material is available and are mostly limited by your ability to get the building materials to your site. A good place to acquire what you need is to watch in town for the big dumpster associated with a remodel operation. It is often difficult to seal the roof from leaking and this is where the ever popular blue tarp roof image comes from, be aware that this is quite visible especially from the air. Most shacks are made from light materials and so are somewhat safe even in a collapse, the most notable exceptions being a badly designed straw bale construction or log cabin.

Log Cabin

If you have the knowledge and time, like if you are on the run from the man and can't get out of the country, a small log cabin can be made with just a saw or axe and your hands and of course trees. It is a good idea to spike your logs together with a long nail, section of rebar, or long lag bolt to prevent collapse. If possible or use an auger to bore a hole and force a peg through. Build a small short shelter just large enough for your bed and pack. Use the largest stones you can find and move to your build site as corner stones. Dig out an entry tunnel instead of a difficult to make sealed door and use some sort of trapdoor construction unless you have lots of tools and construction supplies required to make a strong door and door frame. Continue digging a depression to make more headroom for yourself inside the cabin. Jam moss and leaves between the logs to make the cabin more wind proof, once the logs are seasoned you can use mud to parge the inner walls for a better draft seal. Make a single slope shed type roof and cover with bark, leaf, or wood shingles or a thick cover of pine boughs, if you have plastic sheeting or a survival blanket consider using it as a roof liner. If there is high clay soil you might be able to make a fireplace and chimney but watch for heat damage to your logs, otherwise make a small campfire in the center of your floor and have a smoke hole that you can cover in the roof.

If a USFS trail or fire crew sees any unauthorized construction expect to see it demolished so stay away from lakes, ponds, hiking trails, and other places frequently patrolled by rangers or visited by campers.


If you are using a camper trailer most have propane stove installed so cooking is just like at home. For tent campers the old Coleman pressure stove is a good option. For longer trips out you might want to invest in a gas powered stove and use a distribution pole and gas hose to run it from a five gallon or larger LP gas tank, these poles have a connection on top for a propane lantern and extra valves for other propane gadgets. Bottled propane is cleaner to transport but you get more cooking per liter and most often also per dollar with liquid fuels.

The army tents used to have an chimney hole for a diesel/wood fueled stove but supply of these stoves are drying up. A person good with welding or rivets, a metal drum, and some stove pipe could build a stove for heat and cooking surface. Be careful to inspect the stove pipe hole on these tents for burning or damage.

See in the backpacking section for discussion on pressure cookers which will let you use about 25% fuel and time to cook most hot meals.

Dutch Ovens

Cast iron pots often with a lip to hold coals on the tight fitting lid and short legs to stand above hot coals is a very useful cooking tool if you will be camping for a longer time. It is possible to stack several dutch ovens if required for a large group or for multiple dishes. The cast iron lid can be flipped over and the inside used as a skillet if you don't have a fry pan, you will need to oil and cure the whole pot and lid before using. This was standard pioneer equipment that can also be used inside modern ovens as a casserole dish or to cook a roast. A common dish was a stew or beans with cake batter or corn bread floated on top, after an hour or so there will be a nice cake on top of the stew. It is also possible to bake bread inside the dutch oven. The most important use was to leave the dutch oven in a pile of coals to slow cook a dinner.


If you are unable to get a proper dutch oven for cooking in your fire you can make something similar from clay. Pottery is not as durable as iron but is still very useful. To see if the clay in your area is suitable for pottery, roll a small ball into a stick about 18 mm in diameter, then bend the stick into a ring about 5 cm in diameter. If you have good clay it will not split and the ring will be firm enough to set on edge without sagging.

Form a pot with a mouth formed around a can or pot for roundness, allow to dry, add stub legs as it is drying and verify the roundness and evenness of the pot lip. Once everything is even and dry a minimum of 24 hours in hot summer sun or a few feet from a fire if you are careful to turn it regularly then you can fire it. Fire your pot in a hot campfire for three to four hours, it has to get red hot. Once the fire goes out let it cool slowly for the rest of the day and maybe overnight if you are not in a hurry. Now make the lid, a dome is a bit stronger, add a lip on the edge to hold coals, also add a thick ring with a wide base on top to use as a handle Press the still soft lid onto your pot, use some ash dust so the lid doesn't stick, this ensures a tight fit. Fire the lid as you did your pot and allow to cool. Ideal thickness for any clay part is about 1/2 inch (13mm). For a more waterproof inside and outside you can use a smooth tool like a spoon to rub the clay shiny once the pot is partly dry (leather dry) or apply a ceramic glaze or metal oxide paste to the outside before firing.


Unless you really need lots of power like for some sort of pirate radio gig a gasoline powered generator is noisy and a real invasion of the solitude of the wilderness. Running your car engine to charge the batteries feeding your inverter is also a huge waste of fuel. Try to minimize power and if possible stick to solar for charging your deep cycle batteries. see alsoCars

If you are planing long stays it makes sense to try to harness the power of a nearby river or high winds to generate power. Both can be belt powered using a deep cycle storage battery and old car alternator adjusting pulley sizes to match the required gear ratio for maximum power generation. Remember most rivers and wind are somewhat seasonal, but they can still be used to your advantage with good planning.


Unless you can score a deal, maybe some old highway department programmable sign solar arrays, you will be paying a high price for a simple solar setup.

During our winter solar camping test everything went fine with our 25watt 12 volt folding system for charging a computer, phones, and batteries until we got the polarity wrong on our lead acid storage battery which weakened its charge holding capacity. Always use a voltmeter to check voltage and polarity to prevent damage and to assure that you do not overdraw your battery. Several sunny days and we thought we had everything set, then the rain came, we were unable to do anything past charging four AA batteries a day. We were able to use our storage battery at camp to run a netbook with its internal battery removed for three days to quickly boot up ,check email, and shut down and also to charge our mobile phones and an MP3 player, after this we had to charge batteries in town. Since we did not depend on solar electricity for light(liquid fuel pressure lantern, and LED lights) or cooking(kerosene pressure stove heating a pressure cooker) our electrical demand was mostly for non-essential items.

We decided the best safety policy was to attach the polarity color coded battery clamp modular attachment to the solar panel and leave it attached to our large storage battery, we turned the panel every few hours on its wooden frame so it would be aimed toward the sun all day generating the most power. At night or during rain we would take the battery into our tent and used a 12 volt cigarette lighter receptical(same as the power port in most cars) with battery clamps colored for polarity to attach to the battery so we wouldn't accidently reverse the voltage and burn out any of our gadgets. During a nice day we could clamp the power port to the charging battery out in the sun and plug in our chargers but were careful to put the electronics inside a plastic bag in case of unexpected rain. A cigarette lighter receptical doubler meant we could charge the netbook using its car charger cable and the AA/AAA battery charger or a phone too if needed. We purchased a cigarette lighter port USB converter(12v to 5v) and four port USB hub to charge many of our small electronics(phones, a PDA, and MP3 players) at the same time, this hub also worked well for multiple device charging from the library computer in town.

For safety only attach equipment that can handle voltage surges up to 24 volts, like our netbook car charger cable does, since the idle voltage on our panel was around 17v on a sunny day. Since we wanted to test everything we could get our hands on someone attached a portable DVD player directly to the solar cell on a sunny day, it might have already been damaged but after we plugged it straight to the solar cell it would never do anything beyond showing the power on light. The other solution is to only attach gadgets when a storage battery is attached and you have double checked using your voltmeter or make/purchase a 13.6 volt max regulator.

Solar power on this scale is not enough to cook or even run those electrical car coolers, pretty much anything we could do with liquid fuel instead of electricity we did realizing how expensive solar wattage is.


If you have a propane or liquid fuel pressure lantern for light, seriously consider replacing the glass globe (that glass thing that surrounds the mantle) with one made of steel mesh or at least get one for a spare. Glass breaks too easily when you're roughing it, OTOH glass lets more light through and protects the mantle from breaking in wind. Steel mesh globes are available on-line and at better sporting goods stores or can be made from steel window screen.

You can try lighting a gasoline pressure lantern with diesel or kerosene, this take patience and if possible pre­heating the generator tube, this has been tested on a Coleman dual-fuel mini lantern and it works burning with a bright yellow light, but you need to keep the pressure up and pre-heat the generator tube otherwise some kerosene is wasted at the start. Always light your liquid fuel pressure lantern in a fire safe area outside. The pump cup, fuel cap gasket, and generator tube are replaceable on most lanterns, ask at most hardware and camping stores.

Troubleshooting Liquid Fuel Pressure Stoves and Lanterns

The pump cup, fuel cap gasket, and generator tube are either replaceable or cleanable on most lanterns and stoves, ask at most hardware and camping stores and if possible have spares. If the tank wont hold pressure it is probably the fill cap gasket, don't tighten it too tight as this can ruin it. If the pump doesn't work first try turning the pump handle a few times, and afterward don't forget to gently tighten. If there is still a problem lubing the pump cup with some rubber safe silicone based oil or grease or in a pinch saliva, we have used Crossman brand pellgun(that is how they spell it) oil made for BB guns, while regular oil will destroy the pump cup on many lanterns and stoves. The pump cups in the best stoves are made from leather which resists rot better than rubber and might be improvised if you are careful. If the system can be pumped up to pressure but won't flow when you open the valve suspect a clogged generator tube. The generator is a brass or steel tube that runs into or near the flame and vaporizes the liquid fuel into a gas. Some generators such as on the MSR stoves are made so that you can just pull out the cable and clean it others are made to be thrown away and replaced, the disposable generators like on Coleman stoves can often be taken apart or soaked in alcohol, the narrow tip hole can be pricked clean with a special but inexpensive stove/lantern tool that includes a generator wrench. Do NOT try to clean out a stove or lantern by burning alcohol in it this will destroy the rubber seals in many stoves and lanterns and might be a fire hazard. MSR and many Coleman stoves and lanterns have automatic pricking clean of the orifice with either a shake of the stove, turning a small lever, or by turning the on/off valve several times.


Many people plan on using chemical toilets when they are not constrained by weight, to some these also seem cleaner. These are usually not warranted if you are able to dig a small toilet hole, the exception being in stressed wilderness environments where overuse is taxing the area. To minimize your own impact on your surroundings, dig a hole at least 6 inches to poop in. This gets down to soil with bacteria that will decompose your waste. Do not pee in the same hole as this will kill the helpful bacteria. Make sure that your hole is at least 200 feet away from any water sources to avoid contamination. If you can, use natural items for toilet paper such as smooth sticks, round rocks, or leaves (make sure it isn't poison ivy!). If you must use toilet paper, put it in a sealed plastic bag and throw it away - even "biodegradable" toilet paper can take up to 50 years to decompose. If you have a plumbed trailer or camper only dump your waste into a sewage system and not into a body of water.


If you are downhill or beside flowing water and plan to stay for awhile a piece of blue tarp can be sewn into a cone shape and clamped to a garden hose fitting, this is tied in the flowing water, a length of hose can be attached with a valve at the end to deliver water to your camp, let the hose flow to remove stagnant water before using.

A small electrical pump can be attached to a length of hose, drop into a lake or creek and fill up, remember to add chlorine or install a filter in your water system that will remove Giardia.

Remember to filter or treat any water you get from the wild. River water may look pure and fresh, but it might be flowing over a dead animal upstream. Avoid drinking water dripping off of melting ice from rock formations. It may contain pulverized stone.

If you poke around country stores or ranger stations at night you will surely find a water spout, use your handy faucet knob and plug in.

If you camp near a river or stream, consider the US Army's priority of where activity is to be done concerning the river's flow. Furthest upstream is where you get your drinking water. Further down is where you wash your clothes and cookware. Last down is where you bathe.

Water Conserving Cleanup


  • 1 new reusable spray bottle adjustable for spray and streamfood quality).

  • 1 or 2 recycled or disposable 1 quart plastic food containers with lids

  • 1 dish sponge with scouring side in ziplock bag

  • 1 dish towel in ziplock bag

  • 1 wash cloth in ziplock bag

  • 1 hand towel in ziplock bag

  • 1 travel size bottle dish soap

  • 1 travel size baby shampoo

Some people prefer to have a separate wash basin for dishes than for personal hygiene, they worry that the same basin their dishes will be washed from had pube wash water in it just a few hours before. These basins can either be used on a table or rock top or suspended between two parallel pieces of twine attached between trees, clips or clothespins can help keep the basins attached if you go this route. If you can get for the right sizes the whole kit should store inside of the nested containers.

The spray bottle is preferably tough and cam be switched from spray to stream to off and has never contained anything poisonous, you must only fill it with filtered drinking water lest you contaminate your food prep gear or your hands.

Your dish and body washing sponges and towels should be left to dry in the shade if you have time and then ziplock bagged to keep your other gear from getting dirty, until you are in a place with good water it will accumulate some dirt using the low water method.

For soap some people prefer to use Dr Bronners for everything but most people want a tough soap for dishes and baby shampoo for bathing in case there is a problem getting rinse water. Use only a few drops of soap, dump gray water away from open water to reduce environmental impact.

The dish method: For dishes start by adding a drop of soap to a sponge in an inch or so of water in your basin, sponge or scrub all of the dirt loose from the pot or dish, once the scrubbing is done rinse clean with the spray bottle. If you are in a cool or damp area you can scrub all of the dishes first but in dry areas the soap will dry onto the pots before you are done and you will need to waste water. Your clips or clothespins can often be used to hang wet pots and plastic dishes from your dry line or wipe clean with a dish towel.

The body wash method: Add a few drops of baby shampoo to your wet washcloth an basin water and wash down your body starting with your face and working down to your less clean areas, rinse off with your spray bottle, towel dry. Every other day, sometimes more in many areas you can get by by just spray bottle rinsing and toweling dry. If you want warm water remember to start with cold water in the basin and add stove boiled water, straight boiling water will melt your plastic basin.


Army folding cots or medic stretchers make great beds and keep you from the damp ground, in cool weather use a foam pad on top.

Be careful about swiping picnic tables from Smokey Da-Bear, he will send the Forest Freddies after you.

Proper plastic folding tables are the best, resisting the elements for several years. Plastic folding tables will work outdoors and take a while to rust the steel legs even in rain, try to bring them in. The older pressed wood folding tables will warp once wet.

Folding lawn furniture and stackable resin is superior to indoor folding chairs for long term camping.

Cold Caching

Occasionally you will have drinks or foods that keep longer or taste better if kept cold. Find a place in a cold river or creek where the current is not to strong. Place the food in a durable container or mesh stuff sack and either trap it among rocks or tie a anchor line to a nearby tree. Remember that except right off of a melting glacier this method is not as cold as a regular refrigerator and hence will not preserve the food as long.


Before you start a campfire, make certain that you're not in a drought stricken area. If a ranger sees the smoke from your fire, you're up for a fine or maybe even arrest, at the least the forest cops will will run your ID.

Stick to the old fashioned Boy Scout methods. Check to see that nothing flammable is within a six foot radius of the fire. Dig a small pit and circle it with rocks, then build a small compact fire that generates more heat than smoke, a upside down cone of sticks with tinder or paper inside seems to tbe the easiest way to get a fire going.

When cooking food over a fire, don't use fresh evergreen wood if possible. The wood releases resins and tars that can harm the flavor of the food. If there's a lot of warm grease in your pots and pans, throw a handful of white ashes into it and stir. The lye in the ash will turn the grease into a weak soap that will help in cleaning.

To put out the fire completely, pour water over the embers, stir the ashes, douse it again, and then carefully feel the muck.

Always try to pack a full sized axe (a purloined forest service pulaski tool is even better) a shovel, and a bucket when driving into or base camping in the wilderness and know how to use them and mineral dirt to extinguish a fire.

Always scrape away the organic duff and only burn on mineral earth. If there is no moisture in the ground even down to a half meter, and if when you split logs they are dry as a bone be very careful, fuel moisture is very low and a fire will be hard to fight.

Large fires almost always throw off firebrands which can light the forest on fire, even if there is no forest fire since everything is green firebrands will burn holes in your cotton and nylon tents and gear, save wood and keep the fire small.

Barbecue Grilles

If the fire danger is high a grille can be very useful to a camper. In Roadside Chow and Low Impact Crashing we discuss very creative uses including baking bread and cakes inside the grille dome.

If you need charcoal and don't have any cash or access to a store get a fire going using pieces no larger than three inches wide and once the fire is down to good coals rake them into a pile and cover the whole thing with slightly damp soil. After a day or two the coals should be cool, collect them and use as regular charcoal.

Other Options

Fire Lookout

Many US and Canadian Forest Service lookout towers are no longer occupied at all times even during fire season. A maintained shelter often with a wood stove awaits. These are always unoccupied after fire season unless the area has a camper rental program. You may need to pick the lock.

Forest Fires

If your area is threatened by fire the best option is to get out. Learn to understand what affect regular wind patterns and terrain have on fire movement where you set down. If a mature forest catches fire up in the trees there is almost no possibility of surviving in place. Relocating yourself to a meadow, parking lot, center of a stream, or even the middle of a road could make the difference in survival. Some army surplus stores carry the forest service aluminum-foil and fiberglass fire shelters. These will protect a person even if the light brush around them is aflame although they are quite heavy for their rare usage. In an emergency a silver space blanket might deflect some radiant heat if you are in a safe place but will not protect anything like a real fire shelter.

Replacing Consumables

Out in the wilderness there are a few ways to make cash if you get creative, the upside is the overhead costs are low, just try to keep your nice gear from wearing out, that can be the biggest expense.

  • Silver or pewter jewelery sculpting can be a fun creative job.

  • Gold panning is a way to make a living good enough to support a camped out lifestyle, a special gold pan is used to allow the current to wash away and then swirl out the lighter dirt and pebbles but keep the heavier gold dust which is best found deposited at turns in rivers and where the current suddenly slows. Practice in panning and knowing where to look improves yields. A small turkey baster and clear jar are good for sucking the smallest gold flakes from the bottom of a pan.

  • Sometimes mushrooms or truffles become very valuable on the world market and harvesting and selling could buy you months of supplies.

  • Although very unconventional, if you have a solar panel a mobile phone with internet and a laptop or lower power netbook you might be able to use the Internet to take part time with editing, translating, and writing jobs even from the forest as long as you can cantenna wifi from a cabin or a cellular signal.

  • Growing pot might not be a good idea, even though the payoff is good, as if you are caught you will loose even your backpacking gear.

  • Try whittling! Just be sure to have the means to sharpen your knife if you spend a lot of time on this. Make small crafts to sell at street fairs or music fests! A couple good examples include a fat, shapely cat statue from balsa wood (just paint in the eyes) with some small holes with cut fishing line glued in for whiskers; miniature Buddhas or other religious items.

  • Crochet old plastic shopping bags, with the "Green is In" fad people are happy to buy often for a decent price items crocheted from plastic bags.

  • Set up a sign and offer bicycle or camping gear tune up and repair near a popular bike trail, have extra spokes, chain, screws, and tubes for bikes, stove and tent tools, spares, patch material, glue, and heavy nylon or poly carpet thread.

  • Reviewing gear and tourist areas can get you equipped with camping, cycling, skiing, and travel gear for free or at large discounts, if you go beyond testing gear to writing or free lancing your reviews you can include stays at hotels, bed&breakfast's, and commercial campsites as well as getting airline and travel discounts, not to mention being paid cash for your work.

If you are already in trouble or can be heard hunting a silencer might be considered for your poacher .22, Drill holes every half inch or so on the last few inches of your rifle and wrap that section with steel window screen, secure with duct tape, you will run the risk of ruining the accuracy of the firearm so only do this modification on one you can loose.

While it is possible to make a bow and arrows this is not an effective way for most people to survival hunt if a firearm is available, bow hunting requires quite a bit of skill and arrows are easily broken or lost, a modern high power compound bow can not use improvised wood arrows safely.

Camp Farming

see also Farm It

If you are going to spend the spring or summer in one place it makes sense to vary your diet and save some money by planting a crop, for most wanna-be mountain men and women living off beaver tails and trout is unrealistic to the point of foolishness. Potatoes are about the easiest thing to grow in many areas for the amount of food they produce. A potato plant takes 2-4 months to grow depending on temperature, soil nutrition, weather, and water supply. Consider your plans for your crop, if you are moving on after a few weeks and plan to begin harvesting part of your crop early storage is not a problem but some potatoes do not keep well, for example red pontiac potatoes while smaller do store well after being dug up. Don't stress too much potatoes are pretty forgiving plants and will grow most places without too much work. Other plants will of course also grow but the potato is hard to beat for how easily you can produce a large crop while living on a piece of ground. This is against the leave no trace creed but we are realistic about feeding ourselves.

Potatoes are a simple starch with some good vitamins in the skin, but it is not a green leafy vegetable by any stretch. For greens your best bet is a little foraging around your campsite, otherwise your planting options are determined by your location. Do not plan to eat your potato greens, they are toxic members of the nightshade family, the little round fruit that sometimes grows is also poison.

You can plant as early as the soil can be worked in spring, but plastic sheet or tarp over the plants at night when frost is possible will save them from a cold snap. Break up the ground with a hoe, stick, or your hatchet breaking up a garden about a foot deep and forming a small trench for your seeds or the eyes of your food potatoes that you packed in, cover with mulch if possible. Some store potatoes are treated to prevent sprouting or may be diseased, seeds or eyes from the garden or farm store should be certified to be disease free. A good place to grow in a forest is near an all summer creek, pond, or swamp where the soil is moist but not waterlogged, sopping wet soil can cause tubers to rot. Best growth results are with full day sun in soil(use a thermometer stuck in the soil) that is between 60° and 70°F, a soil ph of 5.8 to 6.5(if you are worried a garden or hardware store has a cheap soil kit) and plenty of organic mulch mixed in and on top to feed your plants and hold the moisture. Keep watch for burrowing animals, beetles, grubs and worms, many parasites will also try to attack the plant itself, see Farm It for some organic pesticides and use effective crop rotation. So remember that if you are going to plant another garden after you harvest the first to do it in an area away from the first garden, a plot should be left fallow for three years after a potato crop is grown to prevent disease and parasites from becoming established and ruining future crops.

When your plants are at least a foot in height you can begin to harvest the baby tubers if you need to for food. After flowers die the tubers really begin to grow, and need more water if you are hand irrigating, but don't drown the plants. Inspect your plants, if a tuber(potato) sticks out of the ground it will turn green and become bitter or rot, cover it with a mound of soil or mulch. Harvest can begin when plant top dies, you can allow them to mature for a few weeks more if you like as long as the ground is not too wet or hot. Your best harvest tool is your hands since you will rarely puncture a potato, but a hoe is already very useful for mulching can also save you sore knees and back when harvesting a large field quickly so lash your toilet spade to a long stick or use the wooden handle of a real garden hoe as a trekking pole.

After harvesting, place in the sun for two to three hours to dry, brush off the soil, but do not wash until ready to use. Store in a dry dark place at temperatures between 45 to 50°F, if the potatoes get too warm they will soften and sprout. Keep them in dark place to prevent greening which makes them bittier flavored and somewhat toxic. If you have, place a cover of newspaper around each potato so if one spoils it will not spread to the whole lot.

Different species have different strengths and weaknesses, we have broken up some examples by growing season. Early season varieties, Irish Cobbler with light brown skin is often irregularly shaped, the Norland has red skin is smooth and is resistant to scab, great for baking and boiling. Good midseason choices are the Red Pontiac which has red skin, deep eyes, and stores very well, the Viking has red skin and is very productive. When planting in late season think Katahdin it has light brown smooth skin, and is resistant to some viruses, verticillium, bacterial wilts, another choice is the Kennebec a smooth light brown skinned potato that is resistant to some viruses and late blight, good for fries and hash browns.

Urban Living

Last updated: 7 September 2011


  • 1 Moving Out

  • 1.1 Furnishing

  • 1.1.1 Kitchen

  • 1.1.2 Sleep

  • 1.1.3 Bath

  • 1.1.4 Plumbing Basics

  • 2 Legal, Leases, and Landlords

  • 2.1 Leases

  • 2.2 Eviction

  • 3 Starting Out Cheap

  • 3.1 Inexpensive Apartment

  • 3.2 Weekly Rate Motels

  • 3.3 Hostels

  • 3.4 Rooming Houses

  • 3.5 Roommate Situation

  • 3.6 Sofa Surfing

  • 3.7 Homeless Shelters

  • 4 Creative Methods

  • 5 Free Naps

  • 5.1 Rooftop

  • 5.2 Bridge

  • 5.3 Spaces between and behind buildings

  • 5.4 Parks

  • 5.5 Storage Space Rental

  • 5.6 Bike Locker

  • 5.7 Tent Cities

  • 5.8 Dumpsters

  • 5.9 Underground Structures

  • 5.10 Abandoned or Unused Structures

  • 5.11 The Street

  • 6 Suburban Living

  • 6.1 Garden Shed

  • 6.1.1 Garden Shed Kit

  • 6.2 Car

  • 6.3 Squat a House

  • 6.4 Fuel Up

Moving Out

If you are still getting together the money to move into a permanent address of your own, you should also be assembling your hope chest of things needed in a modern home. Since you should have already assembled camping and road survival gear you have many basics to use it if you need to. Remember that your camp gear is optimized for portability while home furnishings are designed for comfort without mobility in mind. Don't wear out your expensive sleeping bag or other gear when you could pick up a blanket and futon mattress for cheap.

Check the papers and online for places to rent, avoid rental agents, they just surf the papers and net for you saving maybe a few hours and then charge a months rent, payoff for them is between $200 and $1000 per hour.


Here is a list of some of the things you should consider getting if you are taking a semi-permanent address.


Silverware of some form: a knife set and cutting board, steak knives, paring knife, utility knife, and a good cleaver (look in the Chinese food section). Cookware varies by need. When living alone, all you need is a small pot and a tiny frying pan, but that is if you never have visitors. If you're cooking for a group, get bigger. The thrift store can be your friend here. Honestly, though, if you're getting an apartment and like to cook, it may be in your interests to drop a little dough as soon as you can on good cookware, silverware, and cutlery. A Chinese wok makes for inexpensive quick meals from nearly any meat or vegetable available. Add a bamboo steamer for more utility. A good pressure cooker can be cheap or expensive but a good set set saves you large amounts of fuel, electricity, and time when cooking. Research before buying. For unfurnished places a hotplate, some pots and pans, a toaster oven, and maybe an inexpensive pressure cooker or two let you cook most foods. Microwave ovens are mostly just for warming things up very quickly, although you can sort of cook in them if that is all you have. If you happen to be in the presence of some more technologically gifted activists, and you score a microwave oven for cheap or free, please consider its potential value as electronic parts, where cooking with it may be unproductive. There are combination microwave/toaster ovens. Some even have hot plate pads on top. Consider the price against buying separately. If the place has no refrigerator, just buy dry foods and things that keep at room temperature. If you buy meats cook them right away, which will preserve them for a day or two. Most of the stuff in a refrigerator is moldy leftovers or stuff that would be fine at room temperature or in an DIY evaporator cabinet cooler.


You need bedding pillows, sheets, and pillow cases, consider a big electric blanket, even if you cant afford to heat the whole house you can sleep warm, even then get one or two comforters. A note on bedding, if you plan on sharing a bed, and once you have, sleeping alone will never be enough again, get your top sheet and any blankets a size or two bigger than your bed. If you have a full size bed get queen bedding, if a queen, get king. This will kill that "don't hog the blankets" argument before it even begins. As for the bed itself, save up as much money as possible and get the best you can afford as soon as you can. You spend a third of your life in bed, and quality sleep affects your entire lifestyle. Don't skimp on your mattress. Oh, and buy it new, or you run the risk of 6-10 legged roommates sharing your bed. Eeew. If you don't have the money for heat think about making the canopy and curtains mentioned in Free Furniture.


Towels! Get them new, for the same reasons as the bed. You should consider your soaps and the like before moving as well. A shower curtain, toilet brush, and Do Not Forget a toilet plunger; you will regret it. We actually advocate giving them as housewarming gifts, because no one ever remembers the bloody things until it's too late. Don't bother with expensive things at this point, though. Just get sturdy and practical. Lots of bleach and maybe an industrial cleanser or wax stripper will help you clean off the nasty crud you find when you move in, and you might not be afraid to let your boy/girlfriend visit the place. There are scrub brushes which can be used to scrub mop the floor, but if the gunk is really bad use a putty knife, just be careful not to damage the floor.

Plumbing Basics

If you have a clogged pipe or drain start with a classic suction cup shape plunger, this is useful for more than clogged toilets, you can plunge most any drain including shower and floor drains and sinks, there are smaller plungers made for sinks, don't get one of the plungers with the tapered end made only for toilets. Another thing to do if your sink is clogged is to unscrew the U-bend with your hands, often it is just a glop of mixed hair and grease clogging the works, this is also where stuff that falls down the drain can be recovered. If the plunger or disassembly will not clear a clog but the pipes appear intact you can try snaking the drain. A drain snake can be very cheap but the cheapest snakes are only good for small pipes to poke holes in a clog, better snakes are thicker, longer, and let you crank the end to drill through tough clogs. For the many everyday clogs a cup of lye pellets and some boiling water will dissolve most hair and grease clogs, if you cant get lye in your hardware store concentrated clothing bleach works too sometimes, add the lye and boiling water or bleach and leave so the clog has time to dissolve.

Legal, Leases, and Landlords

The term Landlord has it's origins in fuedal times where serfs would work the fields and lands and give all of the fruits of thier labors to one person or family in return for a right to live there and keep a modest amount of food not to starve. In modern times, it basically works the same way. Landlords, along with the Employer, the Banker, and some say Cops are forces that can cause real inconvieneince if things turn nasty. Do not get us wrong. Some landlords are actually very good in thier role as long as the rent is paid, and have a reputation of charging a fair price and fixing what needs to be fixed. However, many are cut-throat slumlords choking every last penny they can eek out of a tenant while fixing nothing, invading privacy, and placing folks they do not like on quasi-legal databases they share with others of thier kind. Even the kindest little old lady landlord will lose no sleep at night charging you extortion late fees and have maintainence gleefully tossing all your picked-through stuff on the curb if you are more than a week or two behind (sometimes more sometimes much less)! She will have another tenent in a few weeks, while you will be looking at The Street orSquatting if you have no emergency funds or back-up.


Be sure to read the contract carefully. A favorite legal trick of ours is to line out and initial anything unfavorable or prejudicial to our renters rights in the contract you sign, if you can get away with it. Just draw a single line over the words in black ink, no X-es or scribbles; it must still be readable under the line out, You can also box and X paragraphs and sections, again initialing them. If they even read the contract and object to your changes, move on to another place. They do not need to countersign these edits because this is the document they will use to attempt to evict or sue you. The judge will laugh them out of court.

Know the laws about reasonable inspection and notice for eviction and repairs. Many states have minimum statutory punishments paid in months of free rent if the owner walks on your rights. Be brutal if the landlord is a big slumlord.

Be sure to document any damage and keep the photos so you will not be charged for the damages. A big scam with slumlords is keeping deposits for even the tiniest scrape on the wall or smudge in the carpet. In some areas, it is so common that half the landlords practice this.

Do not cosign leases with folks you do not trust. Stories have been told of folks cosigning for thier buddies to get an apartment and in roomate deals, only to get screwed when the rent has been skipped on and the place has been damaged.


The laws vary state to state and even city to city. Know these laws. Even in the most landlord friendly places, they are at least going to have to file and give you a court date before the 'notice to vacate' notice is given (which in some states is 30 days, others 24 hours!) While most judges deal with landlords on a monthly basis, it may be in your interest to go to the court. The biased court system always awards an eviction by default if the tenant does not show, but delays the decision if the landlord does not.Be sure to bring all reciepts to the court as some slumlords will 'lose' payment records. If you can prove that you are sincerely trying to pay what you owe, but are going through hard times, some (but not all) judges may give you a bit more time to pay - or secretly plan to screw the landlord, get another pad, and your stuff to safety!

In some cities, there are churches that may pay all or some of your rent one time only. Folks have reported varying success with this, but that may be worth checking into.

Rooms for rent, hostels, bunkhouses, and boarding houses usually go by the more landlord friendly laws governing hotels and motels. Most places that have weekly or daily rent operate like this. The landlord can kick you out on spot for little reason and do not need a court order or eviction procedure.

Starting Out Cheap

Inexpensive Apartment

This is perhaps the most optimal starting out arrangement. You will have to be 18 or older with a valid ID or emancipated and declared legally adult by a judge. You will also most likely have to sign a lease saying you will be there for a period of time ranging from a year to 6 months. What keeps some folks out of this is the enormous amount it takes to set up. Most landlords are going to want a deposit equal to the first months rent plus the rent itself. Many even tack on an application or processing fee of 20 USD to 100 USD on top of that. Some may even want the last month's rent as well. Bear in mind, this is before hooking up utilities. That said, if you look around, deals can be found on deposits and reasonable rent can be located as well. In college towns, the best times to look is during the summer or right when semesters are ending as students tend to take up all the reasonable housing. It is even possible to get utilities paid apartments, but be careful because many of these get skimpy with heating or air because they pay it.

An apartment can be cheaper than motels, hostels, or rooms for rent if you take into account security of stuff, privacy, and piece of mind if the initial start up can be met.

Once again: do not cosign a lease with anyone you do not COMPLETELY trust. The authors of this project know many who got screwed like this.

Weekly Rate Motels

This is the most expensive way to go. However, it bears mentioning because it has the one advantage of not needing a sizable deposit. Unlike hostels or rooming houses, they will tolerate kids. Even the crappiest motels offer a TV for entertainment, a clean bed, hot shower, and privacy. This is much preferable to the street as long as money is available and you have immediate plans to move to a more economical housing solution. However, the cash to maintain one of these can be higher than nice apartment rent, even if reduced weekly rates are used. Be sure to load up on the free towels and soap when you depart to make up for paying high rates. Be sure to get any stuff out before checkout or you may lose your stuff. This is only to be used in temporary situations and more income is on the way. Unlike Hotels, most of these also do not require credit cards, only a valid ID. Be also aware, that during certain peak season events in places, motels have been known to jack up rates with little notice.

Be aware that these Hotels can be traps for the working poor. Eating out all the time combined with rents that take up most of the paycheck has many trapped in situations where they cannot save to move out without 2 throwaway jobs or one really good paying job.


Hostels are located in many adventure tourist destinations worldwide. Most are going to require an out-of-state ID to get in, though. Research the rules and clientele that hostel is aimed at. Most hostels are for college age travelers, but long term housing for low income people or migrant workers exist as well. It is a good idea to get an idea of the social scene and find out how much a stay is. Many hostels are dorm type arrangements where you may be rooming with a dozen or more people. Also don't be surprised by people engaging in sex hidden only by their sheets, loud snoring, and questionable hygiene. Keep a close eye on your gear and never let anyone see anything of value. Before taking a room at a hostel check for hotel discounts and coupons especially in the off season that may be actually be cheaper than a hostel dorm room.

Rooming Houses

You can find ads for these in the newspaper or occasionally craigslist, though most traditional rooming houses advertise by newspaper. Like hostels, rooming houses may consist of a private room where a bathroom is shared or sometimes just bunks. Still, this can be much cheaper than motels and less picky than Hostels. Most of the time the management is going to want a week's deposit plus one weeks rent to move in, but this varies widely. Be sure to be cautious with your stuff for theft. Also realize when the pigs bust rooming houses (often because some are in high crime areas), they may knock in every door, leaving your stuff exposed.

Roommate Situation

Sometimes, it can be practical to move in with someone who has already set up a pad. There are numerous ways to find these people ranging from your circle of friends, coffee house bulletin boards, craigslist, and the newspaper. The amount of cash needed to get into a roomie deal varies greatly from more than to get a nice apartment (from many folks trying to pay for huge house that they can not afford) to less than a rooming house. Most roommate situations are very temporary things. The more roommates there are, the more volatile this situation can be as eventually some will move off, some may come up with some excuse about the rent money, or person disagreements about living styles can get out of hand. Be sure to interview to make sure your potential roomie is going to be compatible with you. Also be cautious of rooming with friends because if bad things happen, some friendships can be lost.

The advise we give under leases and landlords applies double in this situation, even above renting apartments. Bad roommate deals can end up with someone being caught with the lease. Do not sign this unless you truly trust the folks you are rooming with and have known them for some time.

Sofa Surfing

If you know several sympathetic friends, you can ask to sleep on their floor or couch. With the right network of friends, you may be able to bounce from place to place for a certain length of time. Bear in mind, however, this can get old very quickly. Welcomes can be worn out. Also, friends that are coupled or find a new boy/girlfriend are going to be less likely to agree with this than single friends. Do not get complacent and stop looking for ways to get your own place just because you found a temporary couch. Misunderstandings or bad scenes concerning sex occasionally happen if you are crashing with both gay and straight apartment owners even if they are already in a relationship. Unless you are down with it, be frank. Don't be clueless and carefully analyze both your intuition and the advice of friends, be wary of engaging in survival sex.

The advice to travel light and watch your stuff applies double in this situation. Few people want to have their pad stacked with tons of someone else's stuff. Always be packed up and ready to leave forever on short notice. Never leave anything unattended unless you have known who you are crashing with for a long time and they are very trusted. Avoid pissing off those who lend you their hospitality by leeching their food, smokes, or other supplies unless offered. Respect their personal rules of the house and do not bring anyone or anything over without approval. Try to spend the day out (even though being out may cost more money) so they don't get sick of your face. Come home at a reasonable hour so they don't have to wake up or get their door in pajamas to let you in. Stay clean, shower every day, shave and use deodorant, take your shoes off by the door and keep the place clean. Making the place smell from you or your wet dog is their easy excuse to kick you out. If friends are giving you crash space because you are a hard luck case (especially if you have also borrowed money from them or eat from their supply) NEVER NEVER come around flashing cash, a new gadget, or expensive unshared food! This inducement to jealousy is easily the last straw for many couch crashers we have known.

Intended for travelers and adventurers, conservative use of the couchsurfing website for "in town" crashing is discouraged and might hurt your couchsurfing reputation and scare people out of hosting, but it is a good tool for emergencies if you can make yourself seem on vacation.

http://www.couchsurfing.com - resource for sharing short term, free living space. Just keep in mind that couchsurfing is largely about community and forging friendships, so someone who just wants a crash pad and nothing else might have a tough time. Every couchsurfer has an online ID and people who you stay with will rate you. This is to weed out the creepy types, so be somebody who people would enjoy to have over, token gifts and good stories are a nice touch. For the greatest success, contact a number of people weeks before you're planning to visit and aim to stay in less popular cities and/or travel during less popular times.

http://www.hospitalityclub.org - free accommodation community with 437,042 members.

http://www.globalfreeloaders.com - free accommodation community with 56,961 members.

http://www.bewelcome.org - free accommodation community with 7,236 members.

http://www.tripping.com - global community of travelers offering free accommodation.

http://www.belodged.com - more confidential system of free accommodation networking.

http://www.warmshowers.org - community of touring cyclists offering free accommodation.

http://www.Stay4free.com - Members make their spare room available to visitors for free in return for accommodation when they travel themselves

http://www.place2stay.net - Provides a network of people who need and offer free accommodation worldwide for travelers.

http://dir.yahoo.com/Business_and_Economy/Shopping_and_Services/Travel_and_Transportation/Lodging/ Lodging Directory The lodging directory on yahoo. go stay with a family, rent a room, share an apartment, stay on a farm....

Homeless Shelters

The last resort after all of the above, Homeless Shelters do offer a bed and bath. Most even offer meals or laundry. However, most shelters require you show up in the afternoon to secure a bed and kick you out in the early morning. A few go a step further and may require a letter from a church or social worker and may require you to enroll in certain drug rehab or job training programs. You may not hang around there or store your stuff. The time you have to be there actually hurts people getting jobs as night work leaves you back on the street during daytime and many daytime jobs may let off too late to claim a bed. Day beds are very rare. A few may allow you to come in later if you a have a note from an employer. Be careful if you do this, because some employers may make unfair assumptions about you as a person due to homelessness if they find out. Do not even think about coming there highly intoxicated as some may refuse to let you stay. Shelters are popular places for cops to raid looking for fugitives.

Many cities are forcing anyone who wants to stay in a homeless shelter to get tested for TB before even being allowed to stay (except during inclement weather conditions). Most only give these on certain days and it takes two days for them to read the test, so you may still be outside anyways. Once it is read, many facilities give you a card to show when you show up again.

Some only take men and some only take women. Women's shelters tend to have better funding and less waits for beds, but this can vary according to area. A few will take kids (either runaway or rarely homeless families), but expect social services to be nosing around asking questions pushing for foster care or being shipped back to a relative if a minor is involved. Sometimes during inclement weather, they have been known to open up more beds.

You may have to put up with the facility's religion if the facility is part of a religious organization. Even if the faciity is not religous, perception amongst the staff tends to look down upon those who are in situations where there is no alternative. You are automatically assumed to be irresponsible, a drug head, or criminal. While caring people exist, most are jaded from years of dealing with the mentally ill, addicts, and liers. Expect indifferent treatment at best and outright contempt at worst.

Because of all these limitations and hassles that can many times hinder more than help, we suggest you use one of the above methods or grab a cheap tent and try your hand at stealth camping if the city you are in has stretches of unpopulated wooded areas if worse comes to worse.

Creative Methods

Good for you if you find a good place to stay in the city without having to use creative methods. But if not below are some ideas for those who might think they are out of options. You will sometimes even find yourself with access to an abandoned building, open unused room, and maybe even a bed in a house but for social, security, or other reasons no access to a normal kitchen, laundry, or bathroom. Many of your needs will be met using your regular camping gear like sleeping bag, ground mat, and stove but often you can take advantage of the utilities and environmental control offered. See Low Impact Crashing for furnishings, basic utilities, and services. Be smart about using really expensive camping gear if you are walking the very gray line of creative urban living, this stuff has a great resale value on ebay, and it would be a shame to either wear it out or have a cop or fellow cam dweller lift your gear to sell for a few bucks. Keep your gear packed and organized at all times so you can pick up and run if the heat comes down on you. Don't overload yourself with gear, if you cant wear your pack everywhere and keep it safe while sleeping there is no reason to expect it to stay around for long, some crackhead will rip you off and sell your stuff just as readily as he will give blowjobs for another fix.

Free Naps

Anywhere you find seats you can usually catch some Zzzz. Often just a fitful nap not the peaceful sleep you really needed, expect to be awoken by security after a time.

  • Airports are the best for this and can often get a whole nights sleep in. See http://www.sleepinginairports.net/

  • Hospital - Try crashing at the Waiting Room of the local hospital. Tell the nurses that you're waiting for your sister/friend/whoever to have a baby, then lay down on the floor and catch some Zzzs. Might not be too comfy, but definitely safer than sleeping under a bridge. Eventually, the hospital staff will get wise to you but hopefully by then you'll have gotten some rest.

  • Library - Find a book or newspaper to hold, which is quite easy at the library, and doze off, since it appears you were legit and just reading they will likely not throw you out unless it is a security guard or cop and your skin is the wrong hue of brown.

  • Bus and train stations.

  • Malls - Most are open from about 10am to 9pm, and have assorted seating areas indoors and out. If you can stand the noise, sleeping in a mall is fairly safe as far as unwanted attacks go. When was the last time you saw someone raped in the middle of a mall? Not that rent-a-cops are the most attentive personnel, but to avoid being woken up sunglasses, headphones, and a book are helpful when you want to be left alone. Make sure to use your pack as a pillow, lying directly on top of it, or tie the straps to your arm and keep it in between your body and whatever you are sleeping on.

  • Big furniture shops.

  • If you're in a college town, simply go figure out where the frat party is, make friends there and find a couch to stay (or pass out late at the frat house). Only works if you are around the age of a typical college student. They will not want some 40 year old showing up.

  • Under a tree (not fern), in a doorway or bus shelter.


Many buildings have a flat roof and parapet to keep people from falling off. If you don't want to challenge a fire escape you could set up on businesses with flat parapet roofs like one story strip malls and mini marts, climb the dumpster or something else in back, just remember if you make too much racket running around the roof they will probably come up and find your squat. If the rooftop has both a real drain (most do) and a hose faucet if you are lucky you are set. There are even some rooftops with unprotected electrical outlets in range of wireless Internet! If it was not for blazing hot temperatures in the summer daytime sometimes in excess of 120 degrees F or vulnerabilities to strong winds knocking your tent off the roof or lightning dangers, all the comforts of home are here if you can keep quiet.

On larger buildings it gets trickier but the payoff is your "yard" can be quite large. You will either have to attach a ladder to the roof from the fire escape or pick or break the inside lock to the roof access. Even then you need to assure regular access to the roof from outside while keeping random people from noticing your squat. We have seen people try to bicycle lock a ladder nearby to get up on the fire escape, and rope it up once on the roof, but this is a real workout to raise and lower it every day, it is suspicious activity to any witness, and the ladder is easily stolen. Once you have access to the roof you can build a shack to live in or just camp out in your tent or hammock. Take advantage of electricity and water connections running to air conditioners and lights, but be careful these are live deadly electrical wires and there is no way to turn them off unless you can access the fuse or breaker box inside. In addition to a squat your rooftop might have enough space to start a rooftop garden like we discuss in Farm It. If you are a legit renter, get tight with the building manager or borrow and copy the roof keys. If you know someone living in such a building ask them to help you get access, the rub is they have to trust you to not rat them out if you get busted.

You might also try to access attic space to survive in winter but again be sure to use extra stealth when entering or exiting the building, some attics are also safely accessible from the roof through vents. If camping in an attic you may have to lay down plywood or boards to keep from stepping through a sheet rock, plaster, or other weak ceiling. You must try to keep your activity to places over a hallway where people will not be too suspicious of your occasional sounds. This is a difficult to keep secret squat and often requires lots of work and resources. Consider a different idea unless you have a friend in the building who can help you out. But, like roofs, attics get dangerously hot during warm summers with temps going even above the rooftop itself!


We all have seen campers under bridges. Bridges offer protection from sun and rain and, if located in a nonresidential area, there are often longer times between camp breakups by cops compared to more exposed camping spots. If trash starts to visibly build up the city will often kick everyone out and come in with a prison work crew to throw everything away including your camping gear. Some bridge campers will tap lighting and irrigation systems to provide basic electricity and water needs, there are dangers of contaminated or untreated water and obvious electrical dangers involved with these activities as many bridges have the same 440 voltage or higher lines as streetlights do..

Spaces between and behind buildings

Think about the narrow space between buildings, Some boxes or a dumpster blocking the entrance give you some privacy. If you keep it clean and move out during the day the owners may not brick or fence over your camping spot, but remember that it is first come first serve every night.


Most urban parks have overgrown areas large enough to allow real camping. Try to find a place hidden by thorns and vines that will discourage city workers. A regularly used trail will lead other homeless or even park services to your hideout. To avoid making a trail use rocks as stepping stones if possible. Steep forested hillsides are great to hang a hammock for a few days. Hammocks can be regular blankets or drapes with both ends tied into a knot and tied to the tree with strong rope. Never make a mess, as this will attract the attention of park services and force them to evict you. Leave packaging in the dumpster where you found its contents. Leave no trace! Urinate away from the wind or you might have your little set-up smelling. Do your other business away from your camp and bury it.

Treehouses are also a real option short term. Without too much trouble a little platform can be created by a crafty houseless person. Add an army poncho for camouflage and shelter from rain and you have one of the most ideal places to sleep. You sleep well hidden and away from animals, both human and not. The difficulty is the obvious damage to the tree from repeated climbing by an adult human.

Storage Space Rental

What freak has not dreamed of renting a storage unit for a home? Unfortunately, the on site management is almost always against this. One inspection by the fire marshal, and the site manager is canned and the owner is in big trouble. It might be possible to bribe a manager but the trouble of modifying the unit, lack of water or bathrooms, and the locking of the buildings are all problems that make it almost not worth the trouble. Most of the time, merely asking about this will prevent you from renting in the first place. Or it could earn you a stern 'get the hell out and take your stuff with you' if you already are.

The good news is that a small storage unit can be very useful to a person without a regular home. Just be sure the overall cost of storage and moving does not exceed the value of the stuff. Sometimes it is cheaper to just start over and build up anew than hold onto stuff. Storage facilities, depending on area, run for fairly cheap and provide a great haven for valuable items that are not realistic to carry with you or may need when a better living situation comes around. Be sure to have a friends mailing address, valid phone number, and ID as well. As always, when conducting business, dress as cleanly as possible when opening the unit.

Day use policy of a storage unit varies from one place to another. Stories are told of some homeless people using a rented unit to catch a daytime nap on a cot with the door open and the permission of the manager. Some managers won't mind you using a light bulb electrical outlet adapter to run or charge electronics, but this all depends on the attitude of the manager. If you want to try any of these day use tricks do it in a storage site different than where you are keeping your stuff.

No matter the scam, do not jeopardize your stuff's storage by trying to camp out there! Being homeless and getting kicked out of your storage is not pretty. At best, you may have to move your stuff on very short notice to somewhere else. At worst, you could be arrested and upon return find your stuff picked though and in the dumpster.

Bike Locker

Some say that rented city and college bike lockers can be converted for personal use by modifying the lock. Even if not such a realistic place to urban camp, this is one of the few 24 hour accessible lockers that a homeless person can safely stash some gear in. Check rules about city inspection of contents.

Tent Cities

Many cities have an informal or well organized homeless movement which often with local assistance is working for the right of homeless groups to establish transitory or permanent settlements in or near urban areas where there are many services and sources of sustenance available to the homeless person. Examples are Dignity Village in Portland Oregon, or Tent City Three and Four in the Seattle area although there are usually car parks and small tent enclaves hidden in most cities near older industrial zones, electrical sub stations, railroad easements, and parks. Occasionally unauthorized or contested tent camps will be raided, the cops have been know to slash their way through camps with razor blades to destroy tents and packs hoping to drive the homeless away. Acquire shelter materials or a larger tent locally for long stays and use this for your shelter, try to keep your nice tent packed away for emergency moves or in safe storage elsewhere once you get settled. Always keep your gear neat, organized, packed, and ready to go . Many tent city campers will leave a cheap tent, ground pad, and sleeping bag in camp during the day, it just depends on how safe the camp is and with sleeping bags how bedbug free it is, you will find only the naive or foolish leaving anything of value in camp when they are out.


This is simple, don't sleep in dumpsters. The reason for this advice is that while you are having a stinky but restful night of sleep safely hidden from the cops and security who want to arrest or molest the homeless you might easily oversleep and wake to find yourself being dumped and compacted in an automatic dumpster unloader garbage truck. So while it may be one of the easier places in a downtown area to catch a sticky nap, don't do it, try stealth camping in an industrial area or under a bridge.

Underground Structures

Many cities have old established tunnel, utility, or unused subway networks that might be opened for our use. Be sure to explore large drainage tunnels during the dry months of the year and if safely possible active train tunnels although this may entail serious risk unless there is a maintenance walkway wide enough to prevent a fall onto the tracks when a high speed train passes. Just check any interesting holes, tunnels, access pannels, or doors that appear to lead into walls, sidewalks, or hillsides. In New York and London lost subway stations have been turned into meccas for street punks and the homeless. In rural areas re-purposed military nuclear war bunkers and missile silos can be found although most are on farmers land, made into historical sites, or destroyed by the DOD, a famous example was a group producing the majority of Amerikan LSD operating out of an abandoned underground nuclear missile launch silo.

Abandoned or Unused Structures

You can see many ideas onSquatting in that chapter. Remember that even if there is a bad draft or leaks a building is a great way to conceal your regular camping tent and living activities. If you are traveling light a hammock suspended from lag bolts anchored into the wall studs beats sleeping on cardboard or newspaper, tarp or plastic sheet suspended above your hammock or mat will protect you from leaky roofs. Remember to restrict indoor cooking to cement floors or fireplaces because of the fire hazard, also ensure adequate ventilation of your cooking area because of the real danger of carbon monoxide poisoning, best practice if possible is to cook outdoors in a concealed location.

The Street

When you run out of options, you are stuck out onThe Street. It can be so bad that some people turn to survival sex exchanges or commit petty crimes just to get a nights stay in jail.

Suburban Living

Suburban areas are likely the most difficult to improvise housing. Short of renting a basement or garage for a very small amount, it will be difficult. The suburban sprawl was designed with a petroleum powered vehicle in mind, so most services are a highway drive away. Radically-dressed and -minded outsiders will likely be harassed by the local police

Garden Shed

In older neighborhoods with large lots adjoining park or wetland areas there are sometimes disused sheds or old garages. Look for unkempt yards or long grass without foot trample around the out building this may indicate an elderly homeowner or uninterested renter who has no use for the building. Choose and use a path of approach that does not leave a trail visible from the house or easily noticed from other homes. Whatever the plan light and smoke discipline are absolutely essential for most of these ideas, bored neighbors are either totally oblivious or constantly snooping for any excitement.

Garden Shed Kit

A mini-barn or garden shed can be purchased at most North American hardware stores. All that is really needed is a concrete platform or four stone corner pedestals to start. These quick shelters have two benefits in a suburban area they may not be noticed by neighbors if built quickly during the work week, they are also a quick way to get shelter on a piece of land you plan to build a larger alternative home. These were proposed as a third world emergency prefab home after disasters. A good idea is to build on property of a friend who you will share utilities with. Contact a manufacturer with your plans, most will have at least one design with a normal size door and windows, some will custom cut the wood to include windows and doors where you want them as well as the overall height and size to your liking. If a move is required most quality sheds in good shape can be transported on a flat bed pickup truck and only require a new cement platform to be poured at the new location.

Useful upgrades to a quick build shed home include the following features:

  • Normal size house door with proper lock (as opposed to double barn doors).

  • Windows angled to catch summer and winter sun.

  • Overhang roof and extended length cement platform or gravel porch.

  • Garden hose plumbing or buried pipe for regular water utility.

  • Drainage into a gravel/sand pit or garden next to your shed-house if soil drainage allows.

  • Rain gutters and storage barrel for washing water.

  • Electricity, include a circuit breaker of a lower value than the circuit you are connecting to so your breaker will flip first.

  • Solar electricity and LED lighting is a viable option for charging a few electronic devices and batteries.

  • Dry wall, paint and insulation make this shed house more livable.

  • Shower curtain rail around porch for showering in summer.

  • Fold away bed and table saves room in your shed house.

  • Freight pallets cut to size and plywood make a good floor above the cold cement, tile or carpet over.

  • Propane gas for heating and cooking can be plumbed in using camping components.

  • Fireplace or wood stove for heating and cooking makes sense in some areas.

  • A directional WiFi antenna mounted on the roof can let you connect to a house even hundreds of feet away.

  • Toilet plumbing can be a challenge to include on a low budget; an outhouse or chamber pot would be easier.

  • Tall bushes, garden trellises, and shrubberies around your shelter will obscure the view by neighbors giving you privacy.

  • Solar water heating system can be made and insulated hot water storage can use LP gas or kerosene to heat water in winter.

  • Telephone service only requires stringing or burying a two conductor wire from a nearby building.

  • Rigging a 12 volt DC system for lighting and small appliances (available at RV stores and truck stops).


How to camp comfortably in yourCars

The practice of finding and squatting a random unlocked car can be quite dangerous, as angry auto owners have been known to attack and even shoot homeless people sleeping in their vehicles. Use this tactic as a real last resort, and try to only use clearly abandoned or unused vehicles with dust on the windshield or flat tires if you must.