Remembering Mr. S.M.O.L.E.S.

From the Archives, 2015.


Yeah I know this is Mr. Burns, but you will get the joke as you read on.

Since the general feeling around the national campfire has been one of concern and worry as of late, I thought it a relevant and necessary article to review something that is actually practical and useful, instead of prognosticating on “what could be”. I mean if we are gonna stand around and do that why don’t we just all have a “whistle dixie out of our assholes” contest too while we are at it…seriously guys, get a hold of yourselves out there and act like you gotta pair.

In times like this I am reminded of the wisdom of my late grandmother who said:

  • “A Man can only piss his pants and stay warm for so long….” (Still love that one even though I have yet to find a meaningful use for it, although I guess as this is a prepping article, take it at face value!)

  •  “You cannot worry about things you cannot change; only concern yourself with things YOU CAN change.”

What CAN WE CHANGE? I cannot think of a more practical thing that is within our control than reviewing first our Training status (Software) and then our Equipment Status and Selection for our Survival Pack, BOB’s, VBOB’s, etc. (Hardware).

And for those of you that have never heard of SMOLES before, I regret to inform you he is NOT a real person.

No, SMOLES is an acronym used first by the US Army Rangers and SF and now by the Survivalist community to denote the type of gear that needs to be prioritized as we pack up for when the “Excrement hits the oscillator device.”

(S) Self-Defense

None of the proceeding gear is gonna matter if you cannot protect yourself and you get dead. Always prioritize your weapons first, regardless. In the military we called it Combat Loading, and as Civilian Operator’s it would not be a bad ideal if you adopted this same mentality to EVERYTHING you do.

Remember: Guns, Mags and Ammo before Granola, Gatorade and Toilet Paper!

(M) Medical

The ability to medically care for yourself or anybody else in your tribe is paramount. This includes your basic “boo-boo” kit to your blowout bag to your fully stocked Tactical Trauma pack. If preparing for your entire family, consider each persons needs (for example, allergies, female hygiene, etc.)

(O) Observation and Optics

The ability to spot the enemy before he sees you and to shoot the enemy accurately during combat. This could range from a decent pair of bionocs and a rangefinder to a pair of NVG’s and Thermal Imaging Optics, depending on the mission and your capabilities. Remember: Mission Drives Equipment, so consider your overall optic needs.

(L) Land Navigation

The ability to navigate the terrain with confidence and not wander around the woods like Hansel and Gretel is important in any situation, but especially when the bottom falls out from society. This COULD include your ultra-high tech GPS unit that (a) runs off electricity and depends on a satellite rotating the earth to work and (b) has a manual the size of War and Peace that  you have not even read yet OR a better ideal is to learn how to read a map and compass that does not depend on anything to function. Smart, simple and effective.

(E) Extreme Weather Conditions

This one is fairly self-explanatory. Note the word EXTREME. Prepare for extreme cold or heat accordingly. Anyone who has ever had frostbite or heat stroke will most likely tell you both suck, so try to avoid them like the plague and dress accordingly. Remember, weather and the elements can kill you just as quickly as a bullet if you stay out in it long enough.

(S) Survival

This is the biggest category, which is why I guess they saved it for last. It basically includes everything else you would need to survive that is not included above.

John Mosby in his outstanding Reluctant Partisan Volumes puts it this way:

  • You cannot survive 3 minutes without Oxygen

  • You cannot Survive 3 Hours without Shelter

  • You cannot survive 3 Days without Water

  • You cannot survive 3 Weeks without Food

Stay Alert, Armed and Dangerous!