Discussions

I suspect the article is correct, however I’m not changing anything about my asset allocation. A large fraction of my net worth is in index funds. They will probably tank if that article’s predictions come to pass, which again I think is likely. But, as they say ‘time in the market beats timing the market’. In other words, a market-average return from index funds is likely to yield a higher long-term rate of return than moving money in and out according to whether I think it will go up or down (because I will frequently be wrong). Also as a relatively young person from the perspective of my retirement savings (which I won’t use for decades), a huge recession just means something I buy every month (stocks) is on a big sale and I get more for my money. Now if the value of my index funds goes to zero, our civilization has ended and I don’t think it will matter if I moved my stocks (index funds) to gold, cryptocurrencies etc. Not to say you shouldn’t have assets in those things, just that you shouldn’t reallocate heavily into them due to fear of some impending event. At that point, you will be relying on assets like long-term food storage and water purification systems. Maybe one percent of your net worth into physical preps seems like a great diversification to me. No one has ever paid me for my financial advice, so I guess I’m not a professional and yadda yadda yadda disclaimer yadda yadda yadda.

I have two apps that I think would be very useful in a variety of ‘grid-down’ situations. One is MapFactor navigation. You can download the open-source maps (OSMs) for as much of the globe as you want. I have down to street and individual building maps for all of North America on my phone. Not quite as good information as Google (and may not have complete detail in some more remote areas), but Google doesn’t let you download a copy of their entire North American map. As long as the GPS satellites are still up, you can use MapFactor to navigate by GPS. Even if they’re not, you still have exhaustively detailed, searchable maps on your device and you can navigate by landmark. The second is Kiwix, which allows you to put an offline copy of Wikipedia on your device. Yes, all of Wikipedia. The version with pictures is a lot bigger, but I thought worth it. Again, searchable etc. in a complete grid-down. I have it on my phone and my laptop. Lastly, you want to buy a huge (and legit) microSD card to store all of this data on; the internal storage in you phone won’t be enough. I have read that a large fraction of the larger microSD cards on marketplaces like Amazon are fakes, so buy direct from the manufacturer. I think it’s pretty incredible that I can walk around with detailed maps of a continent and the world’s largest encyclopedia in my pocket, as a afterthought to a device I already use for a bunch of other things. Tech is really pretty incredible when you stop to think about it.

Thanks for doing this testing! A few thoughts/questions: 1. How did you measure cell area in order to calculate efficiency? 2. Commercial (non-camping) solar panels are tested at standardized conditions (1000 w/m^2 and 25 degC). That’s pretty close to irradiance you get at a cloudless day around noon in many parts of the world, at the equator it’s more. You lose a bit from the panels typically being warmer, but not that much. So you really should be able to get rated power out of these panels, especially when you first brought them out and they were cool from the AC. It’s honestly a bit disturbing that you can’t; that kind of exaggeration is not tolerated elsewhere in the solar market (if anything, commercial panels usually outperform by a few percent when tested; a 20W panel might actually go to 21w under ideal conditions). 3. I was curious how my own panel from my own bag would perform by this criteria. I ran a sloppier test, it was still enough to give me a pretty good ballpark. I have the renogy 5w (basically 1/2 of the 10w folding panel you tested). I hooked it up to a usb powerbank, through a datalogging usb meter. Clear day (cloudless for vast majority of the test) temps in the 70’s F, I adjusted the tilt every hour or two, and got a pretty consistent output in the range of 2.8 to 3.3 watts (4.7+ volts, 0.5+ amps) throughout the peak hours of the day ~10 am to ~5 pm. The record of mAh accumulated was consistent with the power staying in that range when I wasn’t watching it. So pretty good, but you’re correct, it’s a bit more than half of what they promised. Still I’m pretty happy overall with the renogy panel; I haven’t field tested it all that much, but it’s built like a tank as you say, and even a 5w panel puts enough into my powerbank in a day to keep my phone topped up for two or three days.

My go bag is just under 40 lbs fully loaded with food, water, and fuel (which is how I store it), and although I am in good shape, I would agree that I couldn’t carry it very far. That being said, if we have to bug out, plan A is leaving by car (or train or bus or some other form of transit). While we also store some supplies in the car, but my point is that the backpack form factor is maybe for plans C or D or E. Maybe also for going short distances (like from the train station to a bus station). I have worked hard on cutting bag weight (believe it or not), but I also don’t think bugging out is likely to resemble ultralight wilderness camping. If it’s the actual apocalypse everywhere, there’s no point in travelling. Short of that, you end up relocating to some place that was less hard hit. If that place is hundreds of miles away, and foot is the only way to travel (roads, trains, buses, boats, planes all blocked and I can’t ride my bicycle either for some reason?) I’m not making it regardless of pack weight. If you are a highly skilled ultralight through-hiker, maybe you can, but for me that’s not realistic. OK, forgive my ramblings, here’s something that’s you might find more useful. I have my go bag organized by theme into smaller bags (such as these https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01MQXLKS9/ and these https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B007KJU022/). Not only does that make it much easier to find things in the dark when you’re tired and stressed (all the water filtration stuff is in one particular bag, and it’s blue), it makes it easy to ditch stuff. If I do have to walk 20 or 30 miles to get out of a disaster zone, I can remove the least-relevant kits in seconds and lighten my pack weight by 5 or 10 lbs.

Knowing who has what skills
7
14
Knowing who has what skills
7
14

I suspect the article is correct, however I’m not changing anything about my asset allocation. A large fraction of my net worth is in index funds. They will probably tank if that article’s predictions come to pass, which again I think is likely. But, as they say ‘time in the market beats timing the market’. In other words, a market-average return from index funds is likely to yield a higher long-term rate of return than moving money in and out according to whether I think it will go up or down (because I will frequently be wrong). Also as a relatively young person from the perspective of my retirement savings (which I won’t use for decades), a huge recession just means something I buy every month (stocks) is on a big sale and I get more for my money. Now if the value of my index funds goes to zero, our civilization has ended and I don’t think it will matter if I moved my stocks (index funds) to gold, cryptocurrencies etc. Not to say you shouldn’t have assets in those things, just that you shouldn’t reallocate heavily into them due to fear of some impending event. At that point, you will be relying on assets like long-term food storage and water purification systems. Maybe one percent of your net worth into physical preps seems like a great diversification to me. No one has ever paid me for my financial advice, so I guess I’m not a professional and yadda yadda yadda disclaimer yadda yadda yadda.

I have two apps that I think would be very useful in a variety of ‘grid-down’ situations. One is MapFactor navigation. You can download the open-source maps (OSMs) for as much of the globe as you want. I have down to street and individual building maps for all of North America on my phone. Not quite as good information as Google (and may not have complete detail in some more remote areas), but Google doesn’t let you download a copy of their entire North American map. As long as the GPS satellites are still up, you can use MapFactor to navigate by GPS. Even if they’re not, you still have exhaustively detailed, searchable maps on your device and you can navigate by landmark. The second is Kiwix, which allows you to put an offline copy of Wikipedia on your device. Yes, all of Wikipedia. The version with pictures is a lot bigger, but I thought worth it. Again, searchable etc. in a complete grid-down. I have it on my phone and my laptop. Lastly, you want to buy a huge (and legit) microSD card to store all of this data on; the internal storage in you phone won’t be enough. I have read that a large fraction of the larger microSD cards on marketplaces like Amazon are fakes, so buy direct from the manufacturer. I think it’s pretty incredible that I can walk around with detailed maps of a continent and the world’s largest encyclopedia in my pocket, as a afterthought to a device I already use for a bunch of other things. Tech is really pretty incredible when you stop to think about it.

Thanks for doing this testing! A few thoughts/questions: 1. How did you measure cell area in order to calculate efficiency? 2. Commercial (non-camping) solar panels are tested at standardized conditions (1000 w/m^2 and 25 degC). That’s pretty close to irradiance you get at a cloudless day around noon in many parts of the world, at the equator it’s more. You lose a bit from the panels typically being warmer, but not that much. So you really should be able to get rated power out of these panels, especially when you first brought them out and they were cool from the AC. It’s honestly a bit disturbing that you can’t; that kind of exaggeration is not tolerated elsewhere in the solar market (if anything, commercial panels usually outperform by a few percent when tested; a 20W panel might actually go to 21w under ideal conditions). 3. I was curious how my own panel from my own bag would perform by this criteria. I ran a sloppier test, it was still enough to give me a pretty good ballpark. I have the renogy 5w (basically 1/2 of the 10w folding panel you tested). I hooked it up to a usb powerbank, through a datalogging usb meter. Clear day (cloudless for vast majority of the test) temps in the 70’s F, I adjusted the tilt every hour or two, and got a pretty consistent output in the range of 2.8 to 3.3 watts (4.7+ volts, 0.5+ amps) throughout the peak hours of the day ~10 am to ~5 pm. The record of mAh accumulated was consistent with the power staying in that range when I wasn’t watching it. So pretty good, but you’re correct, it’s a bit more than half of what they promised. Still I’m pretty happy overall with the renogy panel; I haven’t field tested it all that much, but it’s built like a tank as you say, and even a 5w panel puts enough into my powerbank in a day to keep my phone topped up for two or three days.

My go bag is just under 40 lbs fully loaded with food, water, and fuel (which is how I store it), and although I am in good shape, I would agree that I couldn’t carry it very far. That being said, if we have to bug out, plan A is leaving by car (or train or bus or some other form of transit). While we also store some supplies in the car, but my point is that the backpack form factor is maybe for plans C or D or E. Maybe also for going short distances (like from the train station to a bus station). I have worked hard on cutting bag weight (believe it or not), but I also don’t think bugging out is likely to resemble ultralight wilderness camping. If it’s the actual apocalypse everywhere, there’s no point in travelling. Short of that, you end up relocating to some place that was less hard hit. If that place is hundreds of miles away, and foot is the only way to travel (roads, trains, buses, boats, planes all blocked and I can’t ride my bicycle either for some reason?) I’m not making it regardless of pack weight. If you are a highly skilled ultralight through-hiker, maybe you can, but for me that’s not realistic. OK, forgive my ramblings, here’s something that’s you might find more useful. I have my go bag organized by theme into smaller bags (such as these https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01MQXLKS9/ and these https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B007KJU022/). Not only does that make it much easier to find things in the dark when you’re tired and stressed (all the water filtration stuff is in one particular bag, and it’s blue), it makes it easy to ditch stuff. If I do have to walk 20 or 30 miles to get out of a disaster zone, I can remove the least-relevant kits in seconds and lighten my pack weight by 5 or 10 lbs.